Blade lashes out at chaos on campuses
SOUTH African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande has beseeched students not to destroy the country’s universities but instead to transform them and defend the country’s democratic heritage.
Referring to the “chaos” at the country’s universities‚ Nzimande‚ who is also minister of higher education and training‚ said: “Let all sensible South Africans condemn the thuggery that we see in some of our institutions.
“Those throwing stones and burning libraries are nothing more than criminals. Let the rest of the students also take a firm stand and say: ‘ No ‚ not in our name’.”
Nzimande‚ who made the remarks while delivering the Moses Mabhida Memorial lecture in Pietermaritzburg on Friday ‚ added that he welcomed the stance being taken by magistrates to “lock up suspected thugs for seven days‚ until they appear in court”.
“If you are arrested‚ incarcerated and convicted for destroying university property‚ you are not a hero‚ but a reactionary and counterrevolutionary ‚” he asserted. Nzimande said he was also “deeply concerned” about the continuing disruptions at the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and urged both management and student leadership to find an urgent solution to this impasse.
“To the students‚ in particular‚ I say whilst you have a right to protest ‚ but this right must not be abused and misused to risk the academic programme and academic year. Please‚ go back to class while you concentrate your efforts on negotiations with management. Otherwise destructive and violent protests‚ as well as the violation of the rights of other students‚ run the risk of completely discrediting whatever legitimate demands you may have.
“I also wish to urge parents to stand up and help us deal with the current situation. Surely‚ it cannot be that parents simply send their children to public higher learning institutions and then fold their arms when academic careers and potential future of those students are exposed to threat‚” Nzimande stated.