Cosas rallies behind Zuma, warns his detractors to back off

2016-03-18 19:00
(Mpho Raborife, News24)

(Mpho Raborife, News24)

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WATCH: Thousands warmly welcome Zuma to Soweto Stadium

2016-03-18 15:09

President Jacob Zuma and Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga dance before thousands of COSAS members at Soweto Stadium on Friday, 18 March 2016. WATCH

Johannesburg – Despite a number of demands made by the Congress of SA Students to the ANC on Friday, they vowed to stand behind President Jacob Zuma.

Cosas president Zama Khanyase told hundreds of pupils gathered at the "Learn without Fear" convention that those who criticised Zuma should be ready to face the wrath of the organisation.

"All those who are attempting to make it seem as if our president is not working for us, they will face the wrath of Cosas. They must be ready for Cosas."

Zuma and Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga received a warm welcome when they arrived at the convention.

During his keynote address, Zuma told pupils gathered at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto on Friday that they were the country's future and advised them to build the South Africa they wanted now.

"You are the most important [people] in our country and you represent the future, which is why we are spending time with you today.

"I encourage you as learners to lead by example and fight in the classroom to ensure a better future for yourselves."

He said teenage pregnancy, abuse of alcohol and drugs, as well as violence at schools were some of the major factors that prevented the process of learning from taking place.

These needed to be addressed, he said.

"Also important is to root out corporal punishment in schools. There have been children who have been seriously injured after beatings by teachers," Zuma said to loud screams of "Yes!" from the crowd.

He urged Cosas to continue to discourage the use of alcohol and drugs in and outside school premises.

"Any child... [of] school-going age cannot by law be allowed to drink alcohol, let alone abuse it."

Female learners, in particular, needed to be empowered and protected by structures such as Cosas, he said.

"As leaders of learners, you have the responsibility to instil confidence among schoolgirls to report any attempt by any adult who [may want an] unsavoury and indecent relationship with them."

In the case of a teacher and a learner, the only relationship that should exist between the two was a of parental nature, Zuma said.

He said teenage pregnancy not only had a negative effect on the economy, but on the girls as well, as the pregnancy usually led to them dropping out and having to care for the child financially and emotionally.

"Young people should not rush into serious relationships when they are too young to understand the consequences."

Read more on:    cosas  |  jacob zuma

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