DA: Hlaudi must go, willing students must be allowed to study

2016-10-01 17:41
DA leader Mmusi Maimane (Beeld)

DA leader Mmusi Maimane (Beeld)

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Johannesburg – The DA on Saturday weighed into both the crisis at the SABC and the fees protests gripping universities across the country, suggesting both had wider repercussions for South Africa.

"We are facing an unprecedented crisis in higher education which, if left unaddressed, will fracture the future of all students as well as the prospects of South Africa as a whole," said Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane in a statement following the party’s federal executive meeting this week in Cape Town.

He said the DA respected the rights of protesters as well as students wishing to continue with studies.

"Students should not be excluded from building their future because their economic circumstances make a higher education qualification unaffordable," Maimane said.

Government needed to do more in this regard.

Protect rights of students

However, he also said the rights of students who wanted to complete their academic year needed to be protected.

"If this academic year is lost, it would impose significant additional burdens on those students who are already struggling to cover their living expenses."

Furthermore, he said, violence and the destruction of property was unacceptable.

Nevertheless, while protesters needed to conduct themselves lawfully, so did police and security officials.

Protests, sometimes violent, have been taking place at several institutions of higher learning across the country.

Unrest broke out last month after Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande announced that universities could increase fees by up to 8% for 2017. Poor students and students in the "missing middle" would not be affected.

On Saturday, Maimane said he would be meeting with both Ahmed Bawa, CEO of Universities South Africa (formerly Higher Education South Africa) and Adam Habib, chairperson of the same organisation to discuss various related issues.

Various representatives from other political parties would also attend.

Motsoeneng must be removed

When it came to the SABC and the controversy surrounding its former chief operating officer, Maimane said it was a "case study of Jacob Zuma's project of state capture… A tangible example of what happens when institutions of state are captured by political appointees, for political purposes, at the expense of the public".

He said that Motsoeneng was running the national broadcaster like it was his "own personal fiefdom".

The DA was determined to see him removed and planned to hold a protest outside the SABC headquarters in Auckland Park on Monday.

It was also seeking legal advice on whether Motsoeneng's recent appointment to the position of group executive of corporate affairs at the SABC was lawful.

Last month, the Supreme Court of Appeal rejected Motsoeneng's bid for leave to appeal against a November 2015 Western Cape High Court ruling declaring his appointment as COO irrational, and setting it aside.

This comes after Public Protector Thuli Madonsela found in a report released in February 2014 that Motsoeneng lied about his qualifications when he applied for the post of COO, that he hiked his salary from R1.5m to R2.4m in one year, and purged senior staff.

However, a few days after the SCA ruling, Motsoeneng was granted his new position.

Meanwhile, Maimane said that the DA was already gearing up for the 2019 national elections.

"We have less than 1 000 days to go, and over the course of the next two-and-a-half years, we will ramp up on the ground presence several-fold."

The party was also focused on ensuring it was diversified.

"In the coming months, the party will finalise a diversity plan that will require DA structures – from branch level to national level – to set targets for the recruitment and development of excellent black candidates for public office."

Read more on:    da  |  sabc  |  mmusi maimane  |  hlaudi motsoeneng  |  university protests

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