The ANC government has allowed the current violent student protests to develop and cannot wash its hands in innocence and put the blame on others.
“Violence and arson are not acceptable and the police have to be allowed to do its work, and act against criminal elements,” Dr. Pieter Mulder, leader of the FF Plus, said today in a debate on the current state of affairs at universities.
His full speech follows below:
Debate in parliament: Statement by the minister of higher education on update on current developments in universities
I hope we agree that the present situation at our universities cannot continue.
I hope that we agree that every South African has the right to protest. However, the burning of libraries, university buildings and motor cars are criminal acts and that the police must arrest criminals involved in this.
We should also agree that students who are serious about their studies should be allowed to study.
But we disagree on what caused the problem and on the way to handle these problems.
The government allowed this situation to develop and now want to plead ignorance and blame others.
Since 2012, the hon Minister of Higher Education has a report of the prof Derrick Swartz, Vice-Chancellor of the Nelson Mandela University on this topic, on his table. No action followed.
There is a report on the future of University funding on his table written by a working group chaired by the hon Deputy President Mr Ramaphosa. No action.
The vice chancellors complained on more than one occasion that since enrolment of students started growing, government on a yearly basis cut the per capita subsidy of universities -- creating this situation.
The Freedom Front Plus says that the ANC government created this situation and is currently failing in its handling of the student protests.
Why are they failing?
Because they try to be both government and popular activist movement at the same time. To be both is, unfortunately, not possible.
President Zuma tried to be popular when he described the “Fees Must Fall” protests as “a sign of healthy democracy”.
The burning of libraries and buildings can never be signs of a healthy democracy.
After poor decisions of ANC politicians and vice-chancellors, the police are called in to deal with the consequences.
Sir, it is then unfair toward the police that they are criticised by the same politicians and chancellors who had called them in to deal with the situation.
Na swak besluite deur ANC-politici en sommige universiteitsrektore word die polisie ingeroep om die gevolge van daardie besluite te hanteer. As hulle dit dan hanteer, word die polisie na die tyd deur dieselfde politici en rektore wat hulle ingeroep het, gekritiseer. Dit is nie billik nie.
Die ANC moet besluit of hy die land wil regeer en of hy ŉ populistiese bevrydingsbeweging wil wees. Om albei te wees, is ongelukkig nie moontlik nie,
But when the protests reach a certain level of violence and the destruction of property, there are few other methods apart from using rubber bullets to control the crowd.
Mr Zizi Kodwa, ANC spokesperson, criticise the police by stating that they should not use rubber bullets against student’s violent protest actions.
The hon. minister of defence did the same. These are transparent attempts of the ANC to be popular with protesting students without seeking real solutions for the problems or offering alternate proposals about the manner in which the police should deal with the situation.
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