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SANCO calls for end to fees must fall violence


The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) on Saturday called for an end to violence in the FeesMustFall protests and intensified efforts to find solutions to the higher education crisis, saying the protests have been hijacked by criminal elements.

“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,” Sanco national spokesman Jabu Mahlangu said.

Engagements between the ministerial task team, university management, and student leaders should be intensified to find an urgent solution to the impasse.

“Engaging in parallel processes that have no point of convergence will not assist quell the wave of violence or contribute towards resolving the crisis.”

Too many rubber bullets had been “indiscriminately and randomly” fired, resulting in injuries to people such as Father Graham Pugin from the Holy Spirit Catholic Church.

Mahlangu also conveyed condolences to the family of Tshwane University of Technology student Benjamin Phetla who died when a motorist crashed into crowd of protesting students. The incident highlighted the need for student leaders to rethink the militancy 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.

Mahlangu also expressed concern about disruptions at private colleges and schools, and appealed for tough action against police overstepping the boundaries of monitoring the protests and maintaining public order.
– African News Agency (ANA)