The Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande has reacted to the fire that gutted a student residence at University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN’s) Westville Campus, fiercely denouncing it.
The building was set alight on Monday, 12 October 2020. The circumstances surrounding it remain unclear, however campus security and police were reportedly alerted of the fire in the early hours.
Nzimande has further called on the university management, working together with law enforcement agencies, to swiftly bring those responsible for the act to book.
“The destruction of university property is a criminal offence and all those engaging in such acts must be arrested and face the full might of the law,” he said.
Minister calls for tough action against vandals
He has also called on the university community, both students and staff, to isolate, identify and expose these criminals who continue to vandalise the university property.
“They have a duty to provide any relevant information to the law enforcement authorities so that the culprits can be brought to book,” he also said.
“These are criminals who must be totally removed from our institutions, they do not deserved to be within our institutions but belongs to jail.”
The minister added that said while government is continuing to invest billions of rands in improving the infrastructure of the country’s Post School Education and Training institution, the university community must ensure that it preserves and protects the current existing infrastructure.
According to UKZN, the building had been vacant for several weeks due to safety concerns.
“This is the same building that was closed due to significant concerns with the condition of the building,” said the institution’s Normah Zondo.