Continuous engagement with students at institutions of higher learning was crucial and the lack of it could lead to more violence, an Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) leader from Pretoria, Ntando Sindane, warned yesterday.
In the wake of the violent protests that have gripped several universities across the country in recent months, Sindane tried to explain what sparked the violence.
“Whenever there is a protest, the first people government and university leaders deploy are the police, and that is not helping the situation at all,” he said. “This just further fuels anger among students who are already frustrated because no one seems to want to engage them on the issues.
“If those in power continue with their nonresponsive attitude and the status quo remains unchanged, people are going to die, buildings will burn and many students will be in jail.” He said it had become clear that for meaningful response “students have to be dramatic”.
“For instance, if you look at what happened at the University of North West (NWU) Mahikeng campus last week, management there treated students like criminals. And the moment when you start describing protesting students as ‘hooligans’, that’s when you are asking for violence,” Sindane said.