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Wed Jun 29 23:43:07 SAST 2016

Zuma slams violent varsity protests and destruction of property

TMG Digital | 25 February, 2016 14:22
The student protests began with good intentions but have turned ominous, the authors say.
Image by: IHSAAN HAFFEJEE

President Jacob Zuma has strongly condemned recent incidents of violence and the destruction of property on several university campuses‚ including the North West University‚ University of Free State‚ University of Pretoria and the University of Cape Town.

He also condemned the torching of a Metrorail train in Pretoria.

In a statement on Thursday‚ the President appealed to protestors to act with utmost restraint and express their grievances within the confines of the law and the country’s Constitution.

“The burning of university buildings at a time when we are prioritising the education of our youth is inexplicable and can never be condoned. No amount of anger should drive students to burn their own university and deny themselves and others education. Grievances should be handled in a peaceful manner.

“The Constitution of the Republic states that everyone has the right‚ peacefully and unarmed‚ to assemble‚ to demonstrate‚ to picket and to present petitions. Protestors should adhere to the Constitution when undertaking protest action‚’’ Zuma stated.

He also condemned attacks on train drivers which had been reported by Metrorail.

“The drivers must be left alone to do their work unhindered. If trains arrive late‚ people should report the matter to the correct channels. The torching of trains and destruction of facilities is completely unacceptable and is a serious criminal act‚" said Zuma.

He added that he had directed university authorities to attend to the grievances of students. Government would also play its role‚ he said.

Zuma said he had also directed law enforcement agencies to work around the clock and not rest until those who engaged in criminal activity were brought to book.

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