President Jacob Zuma has instructed the justice, crime prevention and security cluster to “deal with the mayhem” that is destroying South African universities, Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Thursday.
Radebe was briefing the media in Parliament following a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday and said Zuma would be meeting with ministers from the cluster later on Thursday.
“Law enforcement agencies, who are acting within the confines of the law, will leave no stone unturned in finding those responsible for the criminal activities witnessed,” he said.
Radebe said government had already contributed an additional 18% to the higher education budget for 2016/17 and made up R1.9bn of the R2.3bn shortfall resulting from fees not being increased this year.
He said government has “heard the pleas” of protesting students. It will therefore subsidise the fee adjustments for poor and working class students and has accepted the 8% capped fee increase proposal from the department.
Protests ‘out of order’
“Cabinet is deeply concerned,” he said. “We spent a lot of time discussing this issue.”
“That is one of the reasons the president is meeting with the cluster; so he can have the full briefing, taking into account that a person has already died at Wits and the destruction of property, etc.”
There are approximately 677 000 pupils who are going to matriculate this year, he said.
“What future lies ahead of them in 2017 when libraries and infrastructure are being destroyed?”
He said while the protests had gone “out of order” they were part of democracy.
“But we cannot violate the rights of other people,” he added.