President Jacob Zuma pleads with protesters at universities to exercise “calm and restraint” at campuses, following weeks of protests.
In a statement, the Presidency says that Zuma is “seriously disturbed by the violence in some campuses”.
While he emphasises that students have the right to protest, he wants students and workers to “adhere to the Constitution” while doing it.
“We urge the students to exercise this right in a peaceful and responsible manner,” says Pres. Zuma.
“They must respect law enforcement officers. They must also respect the rights of others who are not taking part in the protests”, the presidency said.
At the same time, he claims that he has directed the SAPS to act equally responsibly, and “within the confines of the law and the Constitution”.
While there have been incidences of protesters committing vandalism, there has also been police/security brutality, with government remaining adamant that a security presence is mandated.
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Pres. Zuma also took the opportunity to claim that government is committed to supporting access to education for all, and requests that all stakeholders work together to find a solution.