The IFP has noted with dismay and shock on the continuing student demonstrations at KwaZulu-Natal tertiary institutions, the latest taking place at UKZN Westville Campus where vehicles and a building was set alight.
It is shocking that students have been on demonstration, since the beginning of the year and their grievances have not been adhered to. Yet so many promises to fix the issues were recently have been made by the ANC leadership.
As a party that takes education matters seriously, we would like to know what interventions and support was provided by the delegation of KZN Provincial Government that visited these institutions recently? Where is the task team that the KZN Acting Premier Sihle Zikalala convened to initiate talks in an attempt to resolve the current crisis at tertiary institutions in the province? This is no longer time to campaign and buy face to students but to act and do so decisively. If thorough interventions were provided than how come the violent strikes are getting more atrocious?
The arrogance shown by some of these students at the UKZN indicate the illegal political thuggery and it needs to be dealt with properly and decisively by invoking the criminal justice system and the disciplinary machinery available to the universities. If left unchecked, these thugs, who are few in number, have a huge potential to destroy higher education completely, to the everlasting disadvantage of this entire country.
The IFP wishes to state on record that it has consistently stated that the destruction of educational infrastructure significantly undermines the constitutional right to a basic education for thousands of learners in this country.
We strongly condemn the culture of infrastructure destruction. Violent protests and the burning of infrastructure during the course of protest action thus have a profoundly negative and long-term impact on the right to education. The impact also extends to the country’s socio-economic development especially for children and vulnerable communities. We urge police to decisively prosecute all those criminals disguised as students who commit these heinous acts of criminality.
Issued by: Mrs Madlopha-Mthethwa
IFP Spokesperson on Education
14 March 2019