Burning buildings is sabotage

2016-09-28 06:00

WHAT motivates students, embarking on strike action for whatever reason, to destroy and burn property that is an important resource in their educational journey? Acts such as burning of libraries, school buildings and university buildings by students is tantamount to an affirmation that we do not care about education.

Spontaneous acts of destruction, like breaking a few windows or maybe a chair or two can be passed off as an heat-of-the-moment-act, which is totally wrong. However, premeditated acts like taking petrol into the university to burn down buildings with the intention of causing major damage needs to be considered as sabotage and dealt with accordingly.

The few culprits who are intent on causing mayhem and destruction need to identified and apprehended. Our justice system needs to look at innovative ways on how to deal with instigators who want to see the gains achieved in South Africa reversed.

Students advocating for free education have legitimate reasons for doing so - they need to get the public on their side. Destruction of property is going to alienate them from the public. Positive public sentiment is an important factor that can be used as leverage to assist students to achieve their demands. It would be counterproductive for students to adopt the same destructive stance. Evenually if their demand for free university education is met what do they go back to -

burnt libraries and lecture rooms, no admin buildings to run the university and no cafeteria to catch a bite or play some pool or even a game of thunee.

The café was my favourite hideout when I was on campus. To echo the statement of Dennis Pather when he stated: “Now that they have embarked on a destructive, scorched-earth strategy and destroyed so much valuable infrastructure and resource on their way to victory what do they come back to?

The #feesmustfall saga is far from over. The concept of free university education seems unlikely and elusive in the short to medium-term. Treasury needs to re-prioritise funds to make free education a reality in the long-term.

The fact that economic growth is estimated at less than one percent further compounds the situation. A ratings downgrade is also imminent putting the economy under further strain. These factors, among many others, need to be navigated before any statement on free university education can be made. This is ultimately going to be an extremely tough decision that will be coming from government.

vijay surujpal Via email

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