Nzimande: Multiplicity of interests around #FeesMustFall campaign

Nzimande warned that the situation should not be exaggerated so that it becomes unresolvable.

Minister of Higher Education and Training Dr Blade Nzimande briefs members of the media on his recommendations for the 2017 fees adjustments for universities and TVET colleges following the Council on Higher Education report for 2017 fee adjustments. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has reiterated that authorities can't ignore the minority among university students who are committed to destabilising the country.

The minister addressed the higher education portfolio committee yesterday.

He says that to some extent, the violence seen on some campuses is being fuelled by an agenda that's beyond the anti-fees movement.

"Our own observation, as the department, is that there's a multiplicity of interest around this #FeesMustFall campaign. Some of them are very opportunistic, for some of them it's narrow party political agendas, others wanting to express anger against government and so on."

Meanwhile, some members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Higher Education have called for a special sitting of Parliament to plot a way forward to resolve the university crisis.

Opposition MPs are calling for a more assertive stance from political leaders on what they say is a national crisis as the universities' academic year is flung into disarray amid student unrest.

"Why do we not have some of the vice-chancellors and chairs of council and to ask them when are they going to reopen the universities and if they're not, why not?"

"Where is the President? Equally people out there will ask, where are the Members of Parliament and what are they saying?"

During the portfolio committee meeting in Parliament yesterday, Nzimande warned that the situation should not be exaggerated so that it becomes unresolvable.

He says government has not underestimated the students' plight, and has consulted extensively despite several challenges.

"But also there's all this shifting of goalposts. The one time we must go to the Minister of Higher Education but the other time people say the minister is useless."

Nzimande is expected to make further submissions to the Fees Commission in Johannesburg today.