Government not listening to students – Defence Minister

2016-10-20 08:14
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (Picture: AFP)

Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula (Picture: AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Pretoria – Government has failed to listen to students’ demands for free, quality higher education, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said on Wednesday.

She was surprised to discover recently how well thought-out and researched students’ proposals on the matter had been, she told News24 in an interview.

"I was quick to say, after they spoke to us, that we have not listened to these kids. They are making a demand, but in their documents there are clear proposals on how to solve this thing."

She is part of the ministerial task team President Jacob Zuma announced on October 11. It was set up to help Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande end protests at universities. It includes the ministers of home affairs, state security, police, planning and monitoring, and justice.

'Back to the drawing board'

She said she realised, while speaking to students, that the country’s leaders seemed to not have the full picture regarding their demands.

"To be honest, I was the first to go 'Whoa!' There are things we didn’t know, so we need to go back to the drawing board, and see what it is that we can do to appease them."

Her participation in the task team has led to fears that the army would be deployed to universities. She said this was not the case and she would keep a low profile at the task team.

"I don’t want to be at the forefront, because when people see the minister of defence, they immediately shrink and get anxious, thinking defence is coming in."

During apartheid, it was almost a guarantee that soldiers would be sent to deal with students.

"It’s not 1976," she said.

Police panicking

She said police seemed to be acting in panic when handling protesting students, especially at the University of the Witwatersrand and Rhodes University.

"I think they are not confident in how to manage crowds."

She referred to their using shields, batons, water cannons, teargas, and when the situation became difficult, rubber bullets.

"I even asked what happened to dye?" she said, referring to how police dispersed crowds during her days in the anti-apartheid struggle.

She expressed concern about how police were firing rubber bullets. They should be aiming at protesters’ feet or the ground, instead of at their upper bodies. They should not try and injure, but "neutralise" the situation, she said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.