DA condemns escalating thuggery and violence on campuses – Belinda Bozzoli

Party says deplorable conduct by small group of individuals is a slap in the face of those who face real concerns over funding

DA condemns escalating thuggery and violence on campuses

13 October 2016

The Democratic Alliance strongly condemns the escalating violence witnessed on University campuses across South Africa.

Over the last 24 hours, there has been violence at CPUT, VUT and UKZN. Several people have been injured as a result, and some property destroyed.

The deplorable conduct by a small group of individuals is a slap in the face of those who face real concerns over higher education funding. 

If anything, it is the natural end-point of an unconstitutional and undemocratic campaign to shut-down universities using every means possible. 

It would be an insult to refer to those, who continue to use violence and disruption as a weapon, as “students”. This is the behaviour of thugs and criminals.

The DA hopes that Universities will ensure that those found guilty of this violence and destruction are expelled from these institutions. 

We also urge the SAPS to ensure successful prosecution of those who have resorted to such shameful behaviour.

During such high tensions on campus, we demand that the SAPS take every precaution to ensure that they exercise their duties fairly and in terms of the law. We are concerned that there is a lack of training on public order policing. 

The DA fully supports the right to peacefully protest. This is a constitutional right, which must be upheld. This, however, does not encompass the use of violence and destruction.

We are committed to finding solutions to the funding crisis, so that no poor person is denied an education because they cannot afford to study. This will require making use of institutions of power – such as Parliament – to affect the change that we need to see. 

Until this happens, our Universities must re-open, the safety of students ensured, and those who break the law, brought to book. 

Issued by Belinda Bozzoli, DA Shadow Minister of Higher Education and Training, 13 October 2016