Parliament condemns student protests

Johannesburg - An urgent intervention must be made by the higher education ministry to find a long-lasting solution to violent protests by angry students countrywide, the higher education and training portfolio committee said on Thursday.

"Much as we fully understand the students' frustrations, we equally condemn any form of anarchy which tends to undermine the gains of our democracy through the destruction of property," chairperson Yvonne Phosa said in a statement.

"We continue to support access to higher education and training by all, including the rich and poor. However, that must come with responsibility."

There have been reports that students set a car and the main gate alight at the Medunsa campus in Ga-Rankuwa on Thursday, while a women's residence at the Mangosuthu University of Technology in Durban was set alight on the same day.

Fifteen students were treated for smoke inhalation at the Durban campus.

MUT dean of students Thami Mchunu told reporters on the day that a case of arson had been opened with police.

The fire was started shortly after 1am and students and university security personnel extinguished it.

Vice chancellor and principal Prof Mashupye Kgaphola said at the same press conference the damage was estimated to be R90 000.