“There is no place for such behaviour or people at our universities,” the ministry said in a statement.
Nzimande is awaiting a report from the university after a disciplinary hearing scheduled for Friday.
Nzimande directed that the affected student be provided with the necessary support and comfort to ensure that he is not violated further.
He called on the university to ensure that it enforces a zero-tolerance policy towards racism.
“The minister further asserts that the incident, like similar past incidents, point to a fundamental question about the continued persistence of oppressive social structures in parts of South African society that fosters a disposition in which a young person endows himself the right to behave in the most egregious and abominable racist manner against a fellow human being,” the statement from his office said.
Speaking to eNCA on Wednesday evening, Nzimande said there were still families that were fostering racist attitudes.
“That is why I am saying this is a broader societal matter.”