South Africa’s higher education minister has called on the country’s vice-chancellors to meet to discuss how to end violence on campus, following reports of stabbings and “mob justice” at two institutions.
During the weekend of 15-16 September, a student was assaulted by a mob after he was accused of murdering a fellow student at the University of Zululand, and a student was stabbed to death at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Westville campus, eNCA News reported. Two arrests have been made since.
The minister, Naledi Pandor, condemned the violence and said something must be done to ensure students “don’t use violence as a means of resolving any problem”.
She said: “I am calling an urgent meeting with Universities South Africa. With the vice-chancellors, we will put our heads together to address the deep challenges that are confronting young people.”
Ms Pandor added: “There is no excuse for violence…we need to do more about educating young people and society broadly about how you deal with conflict.”
Ms Pandor said that she was working with the minister for policing to put together a policy on violence and abuse on campus for universities to adopt. “I need to continue the deliberations with the minister of police to enhance security on campuses,” she said.
“Student organisations must certainly grapple with this matter, but also this is crime – murder is crime, assault is crime. Students need to be alert to the fact that we will not tolerate crime on our campuses.”