Stop the violence, focus on studies, presidency tells fees protesters

2016-10-15 21:29
Fire rages at CPUT. (News24)

Fire rages at CPUT. (News24)

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Johannesburg – The office of the presidency has called for violence during student protests to stop, saying students should focus on academics.

"Government calls on students and university management to allow the space for ongoing consultation in pursuit of sustainable solutions to this societal challenge. Students should focus on preparations for their final examinations and play their part in contributing to a better South Africa," the presidency said in a statement.

It called for protesters to respect the law of the country.

"The upsurge of violence and destruction of property associated with student protests are criminal and unwarranted. There is no space for any type of violence at any of our institutions of higher learning or anywhere else."

The presidency said violence only served to undermine the "genuine struggles for access to quality higher education, which are supported by government".

"There is no need to kick down an open door. The matter of student fees has been sufficiently registered and is receiving the full attention of government."

The presidency said President Jacob Zuma had established a Ministerial Task Team to help Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande to normalise the situation at higher education institutions.

Warning of arrest, prosecution

"[We are] engaged in urgent discussions with different sectors of society to find appropriate solutions to the current state of unrest at various institutions across the country. All sectors of society, including student leadership, should support this work."

The presidency went on to caution to students not to participate in unlawful conduct "that may place them in conflict with institutions charged with protecting all citizens constitutional rights".

"Law enforcement agencies are constitutionally bound to act against any perpetrators of criminal acts that are committed during protests within institutions of higher learning. They will be arrested and prosecuted."

It added that those found guilty in a court of law "risk the prospect of criminal records against their names that may jeopardise their future opportunities in life".

The presidency further urged all sectors to "join hands with government" and intensify the effort to "normalise the situation at our institutions of higher learning".

"Government calls on students and university management to allow the space for ongoing consultation in pursuit of sustainable solutions to this societal challenge. Students should focus on preparations for their final examinations and play their part in contributing to a better South Africa."

Read more on:    blade nzimande  |  university protests  |  university fees

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