Student protests leave questions

2015-10-27 06:00

The last few days have been a hectic one for one and all living in or visiting South Africa as university students took to the campuses, the streets, the gates of parliament and almost to the front door of the Union buildings.

We must give credit to our media crews risking life, limb, liberty and property in bringing us the events that at stages developed from peacefulness to violence.

As events unfolded there must be questions asked, but the big questions are: Who is going to ask these questions and who is going to answer them?

Why did student leaders not identify themselves and their status in the media and then inform those in power of the purpose of their protest and what they expect in response?

Why did our minister of higher education not address the students in person and respond or rather make a commitment to respond to the students demands?

Why were the police officers on the ground not interviewed to state what their function was in terms of illegal gatherings and explain why they were executing actions as they unfolded?

Why did our president and the student leaders, the ministers and the university heads not meet straight after the minister of finance’s speech on Thursday to prepare themselves for the Friday gathering of students at the Union buildings?

Why then, in relation to this, did it take so long to address the students while the long waiting period only fuelled and heightened tensions?

Why did the police not take the necessary action when rocks and stones were thrown at them and journalists, as this is a criminal act and could have led to death and serious bodily harm? Or is this the new method to deal with violent protest, dodging and diving the missles?

Why did the elected student leaders not come to the fore and condemn the acts of violence and distance themselves from these who were perpetrating criminal acts?

Why did the government take their time and at leisure responded to the questions raised by the students?

And my final question: Why were our opposition politicians so silent and invisible in the whole matter? This issue of national importance to students and all South Africans could have been dealt with at the genesis stages and taken all that has happened and one answers these questions then there is a final critical question: What is the way forward from the lessons identified?

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