The younger generation of learners in the country have been urged not to toe the line of protesters wrecking havoc at the universities across the country.
Speaking at the release of a book which documents the history of his alma mater – Georgetown Secondary School in Edendale, Pietermaritzburg, Higher Education Minister Nzimande enjoined his listeners to be different and shun violence and burning of buildings.
“I hope you will be a generation that will value our educational property. You must say, as young people,- ‘don’t destroy our property because we may need it’,” he said on Tuesday.
Minister Nzimande said he decided to counsel the matrics on the ongoing nationwide protests because the media may likely not cover the event should talks on #FeesMustFall be eluded.
On a happy note, he disclosed that Zuma-led administration “has opened enormous opportunities, especially for children from poor backgrounds who are academically capable, to be able to pursue post-school studies.”
Universities nationwide are currently rocked by violent protests – which many described as an annual norm. This year’s #FeesMustFall protest was ignited by Higher Education Department’s 19 September announcement – that Universities must determine their own tuition rates for 2017, with increases capped at 8%.
Although calls for the suspension of the protests have continued to grow stronger, EFF’s leader says more students should join the protests because now is the time to get that much-awaited free education, promised by the ANC in the Freedom Charter.
The South African Students Congress (Sasco) has also demanded the following from government and universities.
- The president and deputy president must meet with students and attend to the crisis in less than a week. They must also make amendments to the fee commission’s terms of reference.
- Campuses must be demilitarized by university vice-chancellors, and extra security and the added police presence must be removed.
- The fee commission must release a preliminary report immediately.
- Higher education minister Nzimande must pronounce a sector-wide plan for the so-called “missing middle”.
- There must be a debt clearance for the missing middle by National Treasury and the private sector – and universities must commit to no exclusions for the next academic year.
- There must be amnesty for all arrested students and staff.
- A worker and student ombudsman must be established to fight against victimization.
- The implementation of an institutional transformation charter, with clear timelines.
- All worker issues must be resolved.
- Campuses must be re-opened, and the academic year must resume.
On the other hand, students at the UCT, are also demanding that students who were expelled following the 2015 protests be readmitted.
Meanwhile, emerging reports say UCT, Wits, CPUT, and UWC have shut down their gates until next week.