Following the nasty damages of the Fees Must Fall protest, Acting National Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane says the police is ready to battle it out with the protesters should they resume their protest next year when schools are expected to resume for the academic year.
Believing that the tactics used by the police during Fees Must Fall protest in the past months were spot on, General Khomotso Phahlane stressed that he and his men are now better equipped and ready against further disruption by students come next year.
“To make sure our security plans are in place and if we’re confronted with the same challenges, we will be better positioned to deal with them,” says Phahlane who promised that the police will engage with higher education institutions.
Phahlane’s comments echo the sentiments of the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training. The commission a few months ago vowed to bolster security at future hearings following disruptions in Cape Town.
The commission made the vow at its second day of public hearings at the Centre for the Book in Cape Town. The hearings had to be suspended after disgruntled students confronted the University of Cape Town vice-chancellor, Max Price.
“We’ve had these public hearings in other provinces and we didn’t receive such a hostile reception. We will definitely be increasing security to ensure that when everyone comes, they are safe,” stated the commission’s spokesperson, Andile Tshona.
More than 800 protesters were arrested during Fees Must Fall protest this year. The protest got to its peak when the minister of higher education and training, Blade Nzimande announced that it would allow all SA Universities to have students fee increased by 8%.
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This came after President Jacob Zuma announced that his government could not afford free education for all but would continue to provide assistance for university costs for the poorest students.
Universities also said they cannot make further concessions as last year’s fee freeze has put their finances under great strain. South African Students’ Congress (Sasco) at the time warned of more severe protests in the event of a further increase in fees as expected in 2017.