NWU in Mahikeng opens a case after protesting students damage buildings

The protest at the university was part of a nationwide shutdown by students demanding an end to financial exclusion at South Africa’s institutions of higher learning.

FILE: The North West University in Mafikeng Campus entrance has been barricaded on 22 October 2015. Picture: Mia Lindeque/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG – The North West University’s Mahikeng campus has opened a case of public violence and malicious damage to property following student protests at the institution this week.

Police on Thursday said they were investigating at least four cases as a result of the ongoing fees demonstrations.

The protest at the university was part of a nationwide shutdown by students demanding an end to financial exclusion at South Africa’s institutions of higher learning.

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While the campus has been closed since Tuesday, protesting students maintained their presence, barricading roads leading to the campus.

The police’s Adele Myburgh said: “A total of four cases have been opened at the Mmabatho police station following the students' protest. There was a case opened by the North West University, when buildings were damaged and windows were pelted with stones. The total value of damages is estimated at R120,000.”

Meanwhile, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has said he remains willing and committed to speaking to student leaders through the ministerial task team - to address issues that gave rise to the national shutdown.

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Nzimande said it was important that all structures work together to identify medium, and long-term solutions to stabilise student funding policy and the funding of the higher education system.

The minister met with Universities South Africa earlier this week, where concerns were raised about the severe constraints on the economy as a result of COVID-19.

Nzimande said vice-chancellors expressed their full understanding of severe financial stresses on many families.

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