The Oval residence after the fire was extinguished. Photo: Twitter.

After a fire at an unoccupied student residence at the Westville campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal on Monday, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande has called for swift action against the perpetrators.

“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 today. He called on the university management and law enforcement agencies to hold those responsible for Monday’s incident to account.

The building was not being used, as UKZN reportedly said the building had been out of bounds for about three weeks after it was shut due to safety concerns.

Nzimande encouraged the university community, both the students and staff, to isolate, identify and expose those responsible for vandalising 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,” the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Innovation said.

Nzimande said that while government was investing billions of rands in improving the infrastructure for the Post School Education and Training institution, the university community must ensure that it preserved and protected the existing infrastructure.

“The Minister calls on university Vice-Chancellors to tighten up security measures against acts of criminality and protect the freedoms and lives of all our staff and students,” he said.

–Additional reported by