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Nzimande defends Mantashe's comments on fee protests

The ANC's Gwede Mantashe said that drastic measures may be necessary to deal with student protests.

FILE: Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande believes African National Congress Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe's call to shut down universities affected by protests was made out of pure frustration.

Mantashe this week said drastic measures may be necessary to deal with student protests. Campuses across the country have been hit hard by demonstrations against looming fee hikes.

GALLERY: Protesting Wits students clash with police

Nzimande says Mantashe's call represents the cry of thousands of parents.

"The way I understand the SG, his call represents the cry of many parents, who are actually just frustrated about the destruction when government has done new things that were never done before, to take interim measures that are a huge relief to those who cannot afford to pay."

Nzimande has also voiced his disappointment at the levels of violence on campuses this week.

He says where students' lives are in danger, the ministry will encourage universities to close their doors.