Zuma denounces protest violence

He was speaking at the University of Fort Hare’s centenary celebrations amid student protests.

South African President Jacob Zuma and Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe made their way through the University of Fort Hare sports complex and onto stage to the singing and cheering of the audience. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

FORT HARE - President Jacob Zuma says there can be no justification for violence and anarchy by those who seek to destabilise the country's freedom.

Zuma was speaking at the University of Fort Hare's centenary celebrations amid student protests.

"There are some who claim that people resort to violence because this is the language that government understands, a view that does not take South Africa forward. There can be no justification of violence and anarchy."

Zuma used his centenary keynote address to pay homage to the graduates of Fort Hare, but he also addressed the spate of destructive student protests in the weeks leading up to the historic event on the Alice campus.

Some students have accused university management of failing to deal with their grievances over student debt and financing.

WATCH: Fort Hare: 100 years of continuing struggle

At least 15 protesters have been arrested for malicious damage to property since demonstrations started on Wednesday.

The university, originally known as the South African Native College, has been lauded for producing many of the country's political elite including Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Govan Mbeki. In his speech, the president urged the current generation of students to emulate the caliber and character of these graduates.

Meanwhile, students say they will continue to put pressure on university management to address their financial struggles.

They have vowed to intensify their demonstrations until management adequately addresses their demands.

Students have rejected management's claims that the matter is near resolution, despite several closed door meetings this week.

WATCH: Zuma, Mugabe arrive at University of Fort Hare