Police 'exercised serious restraint' on #feesmustfall protesters

2015-10-28 13:02
(Tina Hsu, News24)

(Tina Hsu, News24)

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Parliament - Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana has commended the police for the way they have handled the #feesmustfall student protests.

''We would be sitting here with another Marikana,'' Manana said as he praised the police during a meeting of Parliament's portfolio committee on Higher Education on Wednesday.

''Our police really acted, you know, they exercised serious restraint, and there is no doubt that they were provoked,'' he said.

Stun grenades were used last week against protesting students who had breached the parliamentary precinct, as well as on students protesting in the Cape Town CBD. Water cannons and stun grenades were also used on students protesting at the University of the Western Cape. At the Union Buildings, police vans were filmed chasing after some of the people who had gathered ahead of President Jacob Zuma's announcement last Friday that there would be no fee increase next year.

''Parliament and the Union Buildings are National Key Points,'' continued Manana. ''The manner in which they were stormed should be discouraged.

''We must discourage this provocation because our police are at times provoked and the matter in which they exercise restraint is commendable. So the message that we want to send to them is they did well.

''Our focus could have been swayed to other things.''

Earlier, committee chairperson Pinky Phosa had asked whether it was not possible to use other less severe methods to respond to protesting students, such as water cannons.

In Cape Town alone, 29 students were arrested by police after breaching the parliamentary precinct while Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene was delivering his medium term budget.

Some of the students originally faced a charge of high treason, but this was removed from the charge sheet and charges included public violence instead.

The opposition DA has likened the police action to the 1976 student uprisings.

Read more on:    cape town  |  university fees  |  protests

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