The South African National Civic Organisation(SANCO) on Saturday called for a cessation of hostilities in the #FeesMustFall protests and intensified efforts to find solutions to the current higher education crisis.
We are extremely concerned about the direction the student protests are taking including escalating violence‚ destruction of higher education infrastructure investments as well as private properties and what appears to be excessive force on the part of police‚” said SANCO national spokesperson Jabu Mahlangu.
Mahlangu said that engagements between the Ministerial Task Team‚ the management of universities and student leaders must be intensified to find an urgent solution to the impasse.
He said that too many rubber bullets have been “indiscriminately and randomly” fired resulting in injuries to people such as Father Graham Pugin from the Holy Spirit Catholic Church.
Mahlangu stressed that the death of Tshwane University of Technology student Benjamin Phetla‚ who died after a motorist crashed into crowd of protesting students‚ highlighted the need for student leaders to rethink the militant strategy that would inevitably result in more casualties‚ particularly when violence occurred outside university campuses.
“The legitimate cause that Phetla supported has been hijacked by criminal elements and forces who are directing the protests towards violent confrontations that will destabilise higher education and make the country ungovernable‚” he said.
He expressed concern about disruption of private colleges and schools and appealed for tough action to be taken against police who were overstepping the boundaries of monitoring the protests and maintaining public order.