Parliament was not prepared for protesting students - Modise

2015-10-21 19:04
(Thulani Gqirana, News24)

(Thulani Gqirana, News24)

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Cape Town – Parliament was not prepared for students to storm the precinct on Wednesday.

This is according to National Council of Provinces chairperson Thandi Modise, who said they had only heard unconfirmed reports that the protesters would be arriving and that was shortly before they were on Parliament's doorstep.

Modise said, had they known, they would have been ready.

"We would have had someone outside to accept the memorandum from them."

But Parliament was not the target for today’s protest, she said.

"We were simply the venue where the executive was going to be. The fact that the students immediately on arrival... made their request to be addressed by the specific ministers [tells us that]."

She said it was a concern that thousands of students were able to storm the precinct so easily.

"We will get the gates fixed."

Wednesday's events should not prevent Parliament from being a people's parliament, she said.

"In fact, we should as Parliament be honoured that every South African citizen who is unhappy does make it to Parliament whether it is a petition on salaries or others."

The presiding officers said they would look at how to use Parliament’s mechanisims, like committees, to address some of the students’ concerns.

She said the police were outside Parliament, keeping an eye on the protest as it was not a condoned march.

The presiding officers, who included acting speaker Thoko Didiza, said they had heard that seven people had been arrested and a few students had been injured on Wednesday.

The injuries included a student who was burnt when a stun grenade landed on his or her shoes.

Read more on:    uct  |  cput  |  thandi modise  |  cape town  |  university fees

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