“Burn to be heard.” This chilling statement has been doing the rounds through word of mouth and social media on South African campuses in recent weeks.
The message has to be taken seriously. Buildings and vehicles at several universities have been burned since a new wave of protests kicked off in the middle of September 2016. The arsonists haven’t been identified yet, but government and university managements’ fingers are pointing at student protesters.
Some students have also used disruptive tactics to shut their campuses down until their demands for free education are met.
Universities have responded by securitising their campus; seeking wide-ranging interdicts against students and deploying private security guards.
An outsourced company has been failing careworkers in Gauteng.
After protesting for three months against their employment being outsourced by the Gauteng Department of Health, community health care workers including those in Alexandra said they have given up the fight.
They eventually decided to sign up with the outsourced company, Smart Purse, because they were locked out and not allowed to work.
As university students across the country intensify their demand for free education under the banner of #FeesMustFall, their cause has not been peaceful with incidents of violence being widely reported. Those who are sympathetic are getting worried that the violence associated with the students’ protests is sabotaging their legitimate claim which is in line with the Freedom Charter that there shall be free and compulsory education.
Dale McKinley argues that the response of the police is the source of violence during protests.
If we are to believe the mainstream media and most political parties then it would appear as though South Africa is under a massive assault from ‘violent’ protests.
According to this storyline, it is the protestors (whether community members, organised workers or other political/social activists) who are blindly engaging in ever-increasing acts of wanton violence. In doing so, the argument goes, such ‘violence’ is undermining the ‘peace and stability’ of the ‘nation’ as well as the ‘rule of law’ which is being defended by the ANC/state, the police and law-abiding citizens.