15 October 2016
Government calls on protesters to respect the law of the country. The upsurge of violence and destruction of property associated with student protests are criminal and unwarranted. There is no space for any type of violence at any of our institutions of higher learning or anywhere else. The only purpose they serve is to undermine the genuine struggles for access to quality higher education, which are supported by government.
There is no need to kick down an open door. The matter of student fees has been sufficiently registered and is receiving the full attention of government. President Jacob Zuma has established a Ministerial Task Team to assist the Minister of Higher Education and Training to normalise the situation at higher education institutions. The Ministerial Task Team, led by the Minister in the Presidency, is engaged in urgent discussions with different sectors of society to find appropriate solutions to the current state of unrest at various institutions across the country. All sectors of society, including student leadership, should support this work.
Government reiterates the caution to students not to participate in unlawful conduct that may place them in conflict with institutions charged with protecting all citizens Constitutional rights. Law enforcement agencies are constitutionally bound to act against any perpetrators of criminal acts that are committed during protests within institutions of higher learning. They will be arrested and prosecuted. Those found guilty in a court of law risk the prospect of criminal records against their names that may jeopardise their future opportunities in life.
All sectors of South African society should join hands with government and intensify the effort to normalize the situation at our institutions of higher learning to allow for the successful completion of the 2016 academic year.
Government calls on students and university management to allow the space for ongoing consultation in pursuit of sustainable solutions to this societal challenge. Students should focus on preparations for their final examinations and play their part in contributing to a better South Africa.
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Issued by Government Communications and Information Systems