SOUTH AFRICA: Bishops Express Support for Students Protests, Calls for Compromise

JOHANNESBURG OCTOBER 14, 2016(CISA)-The Catholic Church has supported the university students’ protest citing the inequality of opportunity for poor and competent students to access third level education.

The country wide students’ protest dubbed FeesMustFall has affected the major public universities in the country. The Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference noted that as a conference spread throughout the country, “We have assisted students with our limited resources.

But the majority of the deserving students we have not been able to help.” “What the students desire is more equality in access to good education at university level. We support this request. But we don’t condone the violence, looting, and vandalizing of property by students and the use of force by police army,” the bishops said in a statement signed by Archbishop William Slattery in charge of the conference’s communication.

The bishops added that it is time the protests ended and for the academic year to continue and for exams to be written.  “We feel that at this stage there is little more university authorities can do.

In fact, they have generally shown themselves sympathetic to the students’ demands,” the statement said noting that though the solution suggested by the students at the moment is beyond the financial and organizational capabilities of university authorities, the issue must remain a priority for the future.

“The government and students must now iron out their difficulties.  A compromise must be considered as the huge financial demands of university free education cannot be found instantaneously.”

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