South Africa’s Minister of Higher Education and Training said that the destruction of university property has run into millions of rands and is now chasing R1 billion.

“We are now over R600 million in destruction, we are chasing R1 billion in property that has been destroyed over the last year,” said Minister Blade Nzimande.

The Minister said that government is compelled to pay for the damages the students have caused during their protest. He said that the funds to be used to fix the damaged properties could have been used to assist the poor.

In a meeting with the National Board of Convocations and Alumni, Dr Blade called for support to end the current wave of violent protests taking place across SA universities. He called on Parents, Politicians, NGO’s, Unions and the whole of SA to please join hands together in finding a lasting solution to the problems ravaging the country.

The Minister promised that his department will support universities in their effort to secure infrastructures and students against violent protests.

“We will support universities who choose to shut down and vacate students from residences, in order to save the institutions from a violent minority,” he said.

DR Blade also called for an extensive investigation over the reported death of an employee offering services at the University of Witwatersrand.

“We are shocked by the conduct of the university for its failure to report such an incident which is alleged to have occurred last week on its premises, Nzimande said.

“It is clear from the report that this particular death occurred as a result of the actions of protesting students who are reported to have released a fire extinguisher that affected this employee who later died.

The university should have reported this matter immediately so that a proper investigation can take place,” added Minister Nzimande.

With that, he reiterated the call for students to refrain from using violent protests in seeking solutions but to peacefully address their grievances.