DA condemns North West University Mafikeng campus violence
The Democratic Alliance has condemned the violence at North West University’s Mafikeng Campus on Wednesday night‚ saying violence is not an acceptable form of protest in a democracy.
The violence (see video below) is believed to have begun after Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) members and aligned students disrupted the inauguration of a newly appointed SRC on the campus‚ the party said.
“While the DA supports the right of all groups to protest when there are legitimate complaints‚ violence and vandalism must be condemned in the strongest manner possible. Violence is not an acceptable form of protest in a democracy‚ particularly when it undermines the rights of other students to continue their studies‚” said DA national spokesperson Phumzile Van Damme.
She noted that NWU had had to shut its doors and send students home which had serious implication for their studies.
“Of greater concern is that many students that are reliant on campus residences do not have the resources to return home and at present there is little certainty about where they will sleep tonight‚” Van Damme said.
“We call on (EFF leader) Julius Malema to immediately instruct EFFSC members to end violent action and the incitement of violence. Malema and other EFF leaders must also desist from using social media to incite violence at NWU.
"In a series of tweets from the EFF’s official account yesterday‚ the EFF is clearly fanning the flames of violence‚ intolerance and destruction at NWU.
“This is unacceptable‚ and may even be criminal. Burning down buildings and inciting violence will not deal with the democratic processes of electing an SRC but has instead robbed thousands of students the opportunity to complete the academic year‚” Van Damme asserted.
“We also call on all radical and extremist movements‚ including the fringe-group ‘Front National’ at Tukkies‚ to refrain from fanning the flames of violence and destruction – and ultimately preventing students from accessing their right to education.
"Twenty-two years after the end of Apartheid — students are still being mobilised along racial lines by radical groups. In a time of economic hardship and job losses‚ all political parties should be focused on finding ways to work together for the good of every South African.
“Now‚ more than ever‚ leadership is necessary to ensure that the situation does not escalate to the point where life is lost‚” Van Damme added.