Photo: KIM LUDBROOK/EPA

Johannesburg – The SA Students’ Congress (Sasco) on Friday welcomed President Jacob Zuma’s announcement that university fees will not increase next year.

“We are happy that our protest action as students yielded positive results in the immediate term. Our ultimate goal is the attainment of free education and we shall fight to ensure that government does not deter from its commitment to provide free quality education in South Africa,” Sasco’s national executive committee (NEC) said in a statement.

“We commend government for taking such a bold stance and we will ensure that… we hold government accountable for the introduction of free education immediately.

“We are, however, saddened that the president allowed himself to be held hostage by vice chancellors (VCs) instead of coming out and delivering this good news to students. We believe that the confrontation that happened between the students and the police was as a result of this prolonged meeting whereby students started to feel agitated and became impatient,” Sasco said.

Nonetheless, Sasco condemned “in the strongest terms acts of violence and hooliganism from some of our comrades, together with other structures”.

“We believe that these acts carry the potential of leading to the loss of support for our call by society. We believe that that there ought to be vigilance and determination from students but discipline is a necessary ingredient if we are to get society’s respect. In the same vein, we condemn the rubber bulleting and the teargasing of students. We believe that the police could have handled the situation better.”

Sasco would now carry out nationwide consultation with its structures to determine a way forward “on our national shutdown”.

This is because we believe that VCs and our councils can decide to go against the instructions of the president, hiding behind institutional autonomy,” it said.

African News Agency

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