Blade’s return is a relapse for education


The appointment of Blade Nzimande as minister of higher education, science and technology is not only reckless but also represents fatal regress. It is an insult to the #FeesMustFall generation.

It was under Nzimande’s ministry of higher education and training that the country experienced the #FeesMustFall movement that campaigned primarily for the realisation of free, decolonised education.

Students were subjected to all forms of brutality. Some were raped and others assaulted, psychologically injured, imprisoned, expelled or suspended, and traumatised.

Nzimande’s attitude, posture and utterances when all this was happening make him the number one culprit. He arrogantly dismissed students, showed no empathy and publicly ridiculed our plight.

Students who suffered during that period have not yet recovered. For instance, Khanya Cekeshe is serving a five-year sentence for setting a police van alight, the case of Mcebo Dlamini, who faces charges of theft, intent to cause grievous bodily harm, public violence, possession of a dangerous weapon and malicious damage to property, is still on the roll and a number of activists, including myself, have criminal records. Yet the number one culprit is rewarded with the same position he previously held. So much for a “new dawn”.

Nzimande’s acceptance of the ministerial position shows that everything he did during his previous time in the role was on purpose and that he has no remorse for his actions.

His removal from office was followed by some slight progress. Fee-free education was introduced and adopted as a government policy. It is being rolled out. It is not a perfect process but is a necessary step towards progress.

Nzimande should realise that a good leader knows when to occupy a particular position. He must avoid being pushed out of office, as happened in 2017. If he were a great leader — with a high level of revolutionary morality and ethics — Nzimande would not have accepted his latest appointment. He should not be behaving like a self-serving individual on a mission to sustain his upwards social mobility.

For him to be in that office reminds us of all the horrors he unleashed on us. Nzimande must resign and vacate the office of higher education, science and technology. He is a liability.

Bonginkosi Khanyile was sentenced to three years’ house arrest for public violence during the #FeesMustFall protests 

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Sassa disses disability grant applicants

Towards the end of level four of the lockdown, Sassa offices reopened for applications for old age pensions and childcare and foster care grants, but not for disability grants

Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku’s first rule: Don’t panic

As Gauteng braces for its Covid-19 peak, the province’s MEC for health, Bandile Masuku, is putting his training to the test as he leads efforts to tackle the impending public health crisis

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday