Retired Constitutional Court justice Zak Yacoob has warned students not to resort to violence in their protests against fee hike, less they lose the fight.
The former court justice who was speaking at the ninth annual Imam Haron memorial lecture in Lansdowne, called on students to learn from how the struggle was won almost entirely through passive resistance to make society ungovernable.
Yacoob said he sympathizes with South African students as they struggle for their future, but that violence should never be a factor for achieving success.
“Our struggle, apart from Sharpeville and two other incidents, was non-violent,” he said, noting that the protest which was initially peaceful turned out violent when government banned political organisations.
“Uncontrolled anger has got nobody anywhere in any struggle in the world,” he said.
“Young people have got to control that anger, they have got to ensure there are more gains than loses in every move. Ultimately, the struggle has to be managed with absolute discipline and care.
Yacoob was an anti-apartheid activist and retired as a Constitutional Court justice in 2013, after a 15-year stint. He believe students would be successful in their fight if they got 30 000 students to stand silently in protest for five hours.
“Protesting students needed to get non-protesting students and society at large on their side,” he said
“I have not heard a statement from student leaders to say that nobody will be forced not to attend lectures or not write their tests… saying we will make sure that we will provide that protection.”
Speaking further on how students must channel their anger to achieve good result, Yacoob said students leaders must be honest.
He said students leader, government and university officials needed to be honest noting how the #Feesmustfall students leader, Mcebo Dlamini insulted the intelligence of all citizens by lying at the court that he needed bail so he would write a test.
“Their demands would not have been as vehement as they are now if corruption in our society is not so endemic, obvious, and cancerous,” he said pointing out that leaders could not expect students to respect and obey them when they were corrupt.
Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma has called on the #FeesMustFall protesters to give the Fees Commission a chance to conclude its work saying it’s worrying that genuine concerns regarding the cost of university education have been hijacked and marred by violence.
Zuma however called on the state police to make sure those who use genuine grievances to promote criminal acts are brought to book.