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Minister applauds ‘swift’ arrests for university murders

Image: GovernmentZA [CC BY-NA 2.0], via Flickr


Higher education minister Nzimande deplores “insidious plague” of crime and corruption in South Africa

South Africa’s minister of higher education has welcomed the arrests of five men allegedly involved in killings at the University of Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape province last year.

The five men appeared at Alice Magistrate Court on 11 April to face charges related to the murders of Petrus Roets, the university’s transport manager, and Mboneli Vesele, the bodyguard of the university’s vice-chancellor.

Roets was shot dead in May last year in what prosecutors believe to have been a hit orchestrated by individuals involved in corrupt deals involving university money that were under investigation by the institution. Vesele died in January in what is widely believed to have been an attempt on vice-chancellor Sakhela Buhlungu’s life.

Higher education minister Blade Nzimande (pictured) said the “swift” arrests were testament to the “tireless” work of police to bring those responsible for the murders to book.

“I hope this case will also serve as an example to deter those within our post-school education and training sector and society in general that crime and corruption is punishable by law and that both are an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies,” Nzimande said in a statement.

Following the first court appearance, the case has been postponed until early May.

Violence on university campuses has become a growing concern in South Africa. In January, Jonathan Jansen, president of the Academy of Science of South Africa, said violence and threats against staff had reached “crisis point”.

Earlier this year, Nzimande said he would create a national taskforce to ramp up safety at universities.

A version of this article appeared in Research Europe