SOUTH AFRICA: Don’t Disrupt Academic Programmes, Bishops Urge Protesting Students

JOHANNESBURG FEBRUARY 3, 2017 (CISA)– South African Bishops have called on university students to consider ways of achieving the outcomes of their campaign without the disruption of the academic programme.

In a statement signed by Archbishop William Slattery of Pretoria, who is the spokesman of Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC), the bishops asked the students to return to classes and when protesting to do so without resorting to violence and the destruction of property.

“We appeal to all our students in the beginning of this academic year to return to lectures and to their academic programmes while continuing their legitimate campaign,” said the bishops.

“We pledge our support for the call that education be made accessible for all on a more equitable basis and we also pledge our support in negotiations with the various stakeholders,” they added.

The bishops asked the members of Government to ensure that the issues identified by the students are adequately addressed with due regard to their freedom to demonstrate and the assurance of adequate security.

They further noted that the private sector has played a vital role in education and urged them “to put greater efforts in the building of the financial foundations necessary for education accessible to all and the employment of the young and newly graduated.”

“We urge greater tolerance and understanding on the part of Vice-Chancellors and University Councils who are at the coalface of dealing with the expectations of students for transformation and financial assistance. It is our prayer that the resolution of this crisis will serve the good of all,” they added.

The country wide students’ protests dubbed FeesMustFall have for many months now affected major public universities in the country, and in some cases turning violent as students clash with law enforcement.

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