Nzimande disappointed by student protests

Minister Nzimande has stressed that poor students will benefit from government’s decision.

FILE: Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande. Picture: Gia Nicolaides/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande says he's disappointed that students are protesting against his announcement on fee increments, saying those who are participating are either misinformed or deliberately trying to distort facts to suit their own agendas.

On Monday, Nzimande announced universities should decide on their own fee increases for the 2017 academic year but said these should not exceed 8%.

Wits University has been the hardest hit by the protests with police at the Braamfontein campus.

Nzimande has stressed that poor students and the so called missing middle, will benefit from government's decision.

"People are just, either, very misinformed or are deliberately trying to stop things to suit them. What disappoints me is that a small group of determined students, some of whom are acting in a very vandalistic manner to actually try and disrupt the academic programme."

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Nzimande says students participating in protests over fee increments are being irresponsible and has urged those against the demonstrations to take a stand.

Nzimande has condemned the protests.

"It's time now that parents and society as a whole to stand against this attitude by these band of students who are hell-bent in destroying the futures and careers of our young people. Everyone must stand up and say no."

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The University of Cape Town (UCT) has announced that all academic activities will remain suspended until Sunday, amid ongoing fee protests at various tertiary institutions.

The university says the decision was taken at a senior leadership group meeting this evening, and will affect libraries and the campus bus service.

Demonstrations erupted after Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announced that universities would be allowed to hike their fees.

UCT students are also protesting for the return of several expelled students.

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Other institutions that have suspended academic activities for the week include the University of Pretoria, University of the Free State and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.