S AFRICA: Church Leaders Raise Concern on Student Fee Crisis

JOHANNESBURG OCTOBER 23, 2015(CISA) –National church leaders of South Africa have raised concerns over the student fee crisis in the country.

In a statement sent to CISA issued after the Annual National Church Leaders’ Consultation (NCLC) gathering in Johannesburg from 21-22 October 2015 on the student fee crisis, the church leaders condemned “the unnecessary use of violence and police brutality against our students and children.”

“We lament and strongly condemn the unnecessary use of violence and police brutality against our students and children. We call for the immediate release of all detained under these circumstances,” said the Religious leaders.

They urged the government to declare the strike a national crisis since the poor had been excluded from accessing higher education because they cannot afford.

“We recognize that the majority of these students are black and this entrenches inequality in our nation and denies educational opportunity. Our sacred texts call us to identify with the poor and marginalised. The church and faith leaders therefore have an obligation to stand in solidarity with the students on campuses around the nation,” said Archbishop Dr Thabo Makgoba, Chairperson of the NCLC and member of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa.

The faith leaders noted that they were committed to engage and journey with all stakeholders to resolve the issue.
The leaders called on the minister of Higher Education and Training, Dr Blade Nzimande and the President of the Republic of South Africa to undertake immediate and appropriate measures to address the situation.

“We call on university authorities and government to join us in listening to students and avoiding violent behaviour that shuts down dialogue. Only through deep dialogue, listening and courageous action will we be able to find lasting long-term solutions,” said the faith leaders.

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