The All-Africa Students UNION is deeply saddened by events concerning students’ protest at the University of Witwaterands, South Africa which have led to the death of one.
AASU is troubled that such legitimate matter as a peaceful protest by students against exorbitant fees could attract excessive force and violence from authorities. The Union condemns in no uncertain terms the high-handedness of officialdom in resolving this impasse. It is regrettable that these actions have led to death and injuries.
The issue of exorbitant school fees is obviously not a new one. The memories of the revolutionary #FeesMustFall campaign of 2015 are still with us. The germane issues raised and demands outlined by the student movement both in South Africa and elsewhere on the continent remain largely unresolved. AASU takes this opportunity to reiterate the need for higher learning on the continent to be accessible to all. Excessive fees however, continue to remain an impediment in the way of access. To that end, AASU renews its commitment to stand with our comrades in the University of Witwatersrand and everywhere.
Evidently, the issues that confront students in South Africa and the continent more broadly are further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. As nations begin to recover from the devastation, we would expect academic institutions to also accommodate the needs of students and not compound the challenges with exorbitant school fees. Additionally, where there are differences, we expect school authorities to manage them more amicably instead of resorting to aggressive and violent means. There is enough history to guide all against such approaches.
AASU therefore uses this medium to call on the government of South Africa to intervene in the situation and restore calm to the University of Witwatersrand.
Source : AASU