Minister of Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande has called on protesting students not to hold the futures of others to ransom.
Nzimande in a statement again condemned the violence at Wits University, saying it is the work of irresponsible and disrespectful students not interested in completing the 2016 academic year.
He said the university had attempted to continue with the academic programme but was also being held ransom by “students who are intent upon disrupting classes”.
Police clashed with student protesters in the streets of Braamfontein in Johannesburg and a bus was set alight.
Violence broke out at several other institutions including North West University’s Mahikeng campus, the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of the Free State and Stellenbosch University. Nzimande, however, singled out Wits.
He called for academic activity to get underway immediately and said a few striking students should not disrupt or intimidate students who want to continue with their studies.
He said university management must do everything in their power to ensure the academic programme resumes.
“This is a critical time for the academic programme with examinations fast approaching, therefore it is of paramount importance for classes and lectures to resume without delay.”
Nzimande said all stakeholders must play an active role in seeing to it that the 2016 academic programme was completed.
“We believe ongoing negotiations cannot stand in the way of classes resuming immediately. Dialogue is the only answer and intimidation and violence will never address the legitimate concerns of students,” Nzimande said.