FORMER University of the Free State vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen says university protests may cease when poor students who see their life chances “evaporating before their very eyes” start pushing back.
Jansen was commenting on Wednesday about a series of countrywide student protests‚ some of them violent‚ that have forced the closure of some campuses‚ and disrupted lectures and the writing of tests.
“I have always maintained that the best way to resolve these destructive protests is when other students push back‚ particularly the poor‚ who see their life chances evaporating before their very eyes‚” he said in a public post on Facebook.
“This is starting to happen on some campuses. I wonder whether the media will be as eager to give voice to those students‚ the majority?
“One student leader allegedly got beaten up by other students from his community for disrupting their education. No campus management or campus security can achieve this. It must be the students and the communities themselves‚” he wrote.
He voiced similar sentiments earlier in the week‚ saying those who would bear the brunt of the lawlessness on campuses would be the poor.
“With the UCT shutdown and the minister’s announcement on fees‚ this week will answer the question whether SA will have universities to speak of in the future.
“UCT is a high-quality university being shutdown under threat of lawlessness from a minority who believe that violent crime should have no consequences.
“As usual‚ the majority of students suffer and those who bear the brunt of this lawlessness are the black poor‚ make no mistake.
“Only a strong counter-voice from the public and a concerted response from the highest levels of government‚ can stop the rot‚” he said.