Students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal have been staging a protest since last week demanding that they be allowed to register without settling their historical debt.
Several buildings have been burnt at the university's Pietermaritzburg and Durban campuses.
Students have vowed to continue their protests until the university management gives in to their demands.
Bongani Bingwa chats to Universities South Africa chief executive officer professor Ahmed Bawa to weigh in on the matter.
There is no university in South Africa that prevents students from demonstrating or making their points heard but what we are seeing is a violent activity and arson that cannot be tolerated. Universities don't belong to vice-chancellors, they belong to the people and these violent attacks on universities is an attack on the South African people.— Professor Ahmed Bawa, CEO - Universities South Africa
Issues like historic debt are not issues that can only be solved by one university it needs to be solved systemically, he adds.
Historic debt is in the region of about R9-billion, so the question is how do we solve these problems systemically so that we don't hamper on the academic year.— Professor Ahmed Bawa, CEO - Universities South Africa
Listen below to the full conversation: