Political violence at universities disturbing - Parliament

2015-08-27 18:35
(Mpho Raborife, News24)

(Mpho Raborife, News24)

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Cape Town - Parliament's portfolio committee on higher education has expressed concern at recent incidents of violence at universities ahead of their Student Representative Council (SRC) elections.

"It is very worrying when we heard of occurrences of this nature where violence of a senseless nature is meted out by students at one other," committee chair Yvonne Phosa said in a statement on Thursday.

"Despite belonging to different political formations, we urge students to act in a manner that is civil and to show political tolerance so that incidents of violence, which have no place in our higher learning environment, do not recur.

"Incidents like these are taking the country backwards when strides have been made to ensure that peace among all our people is secured through the upholding of equal human rights as stated in the Freedom Charter."

Phosa called on political party leaders to "desist from engaging in actions that might incite violence among students".

"Political party leaders have to conduct themselves in a responsible manner rather than to be seen to be instigating violence," she said.

"Leaders should not be the cause of disruptions which lead to violence on campuses. We all have the responsibility of instilling good values in the students, who are our leaders of tomorrow."

On Wednesday police fired stun grenades to disperse clashing EFF members and members of rival organisations at the Tshwane University of Technology's Pretoria West campus ahead of the SRC elections.

Students had gathered to listen to EFF leader Julius Malema when the violence broke out.

On Thursday the High Court in Johannesburg set aside the decision by the University of the Witwatersrand to suspend seven students, including six EFF-affiliated students, from the institution.

An application by the EFF followed the suspension of the students after a scuffle during an SRC election debate last week Tuesday.

However, the process of the SRC elections at the university, which are currently under way, will continue as planned.

This means the students, and the EFF, will not be able to participate in the elections.

The university also revoked the recognition of the EFF Student Command on campus, but reinstated it later.

Outside the court, the EFF's Dali Mpofu denied allegations that the party was violent, saying members were victims of violence instead.

"You saw what happened yesterday [on Wednesday at TUT], we had a peaceful meeting and our meeting was invaded by ANC hooligans," he said.

"Here [at Wits], when they provoked us... we could have decided enough is enough... [instead] we did two things, we went and sat with them around a table and when that didn't work we came to a court of law."

Read more on:    tut  |  eff  |  pretoria  |  politics

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