Archbishop Thabo Makgoba urged university students to return to their classrooms following a week of violent protests over proposed hikes in tuition.
The Archbishop of Cape Town has urged university students to return to their classrooms following a week of violent protests over proposed hikes in tuition. Education minister Blade Nzimande announced last month fees would rise by eight per cent next year. However the fee increase would be means tested, with an estimated 70 per cent of students exempt from the hike. The rise has incensed student radicals who claim it is designed to exclude poor blacks from universities, leading to protests and arson attacks. The law library at the University of KwaZulu-Natal was set alight and severely damaged by protesters. In a statement released on 25 Sept 2016 Archbishop Makgoba wrote: “The burning of schools, libraries, and institutions of higher learning sets us back from progressing as a nation,” as it was “in these schools, libraries and institutions where people’s lives have been transformed.” He stated: “With so much inequality and poverty in this country, let us refrain from deepening the divide through destructive actions. Violence and destructive action will not bring about the desired solutions. I am praying for our children at all the universities, that our convictions may prove to be greater than the challenges that confront us today.” Addressing the protestors he wrote: “You have the opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourselves. When one day you reflect on this time, may the story you tell be one that fills you with pride. May it be a story that like the stories your parents told you of their fight for your right to equal education, makes future generations appreciate the opportunities we have that they never had. May your legacy not be one that destroys centres of learning, leaving nothing for posterity.”