Protesting students “must not break doors that are already open”‚ President Jacob Zuma warned on Tuesday.
As his was a “caring government” that is “sympathetic to the message from the students”‚ Zuma said: “There is therefore no need for violence and the kind of protests we have seen‚ which give an impression that students think government is opposed to what they are asking for.
“We are sympathetic to the message from the students because we share the understanding of the need to ensure that children of the poor and the working class obtain higher education.
He also warned that “police will also continue to ensure that those who use genuine grievances to promote criminal acts are arrested and face the full might of the law.
“It is…worrying that genuine concerns regarding high tertiary education fees are hijacked for wrong ends‚ and involve particularly violence‚ arson and various forms of destruction of property.”
Zuma was addressing envoys and diplomats at the annual South African Heads of Mission Conference in Pretoria. He urged them “to explore more partnerships and new areas of cooperation that can broaden educational opportunities for our youth”.
“This could be in the form of scholarships‚ exchange programmes and vocational skills training programmes‚ among others‚” he added.
Zuma pointed to SA’s “successful cooperative partnerships with countries such as Cuba”.
“Other countries have offered us a large number of scholarships which we appreciate. I believe we can optimise the scientific and cultural exchanges that we often commit to in our bilateral relations