The African National Congress is outraged by signs of deteriorating race relations and racial tensions, specifically in institutions of higher learning as evidenced by the violent clashes at the Universities of Free State and Pretoria. It is reported that these are clashes between various groupings are as a result of differences on language policy and employment conditions (outsourcing) in these institutions. We strongly condemn such acts of violence regardless of the circumstances and the race and issues of those who participate in them.
Just last week, the African National Congress called on South Africans to commit themselves to the founding values of this nation being human dignity, equality and freedom, that allow us to live together and build a socially cohesive nation. The utter disregard of these principles which create a platform for co-existence for our people, flies in the face of the determination of many peace loving South Africans who want to work together, live in harmony and work for common prosperity. Racial wars and racial tensions do not in any way bring us closer to the type of society we need to collectively build together.
Our democratic constitution guarantees the right of people to protest. It is for this reason that we support the legitimate protests of all peoples, including students, across the country. A profound achievement of student protests in recent times has been the solidarity developed between students, black and white. Students must jealously guard and advance these gains, not turn on one another. Protest action by any group should not hinder on the rights of others and equally protect their right to differ. Members of the South African Police Services (SAPS) must act with restraint and enforce the law fully cognisant that the primary role of the state must be “to respect, promote, protect and fulfil the rights contained in the Bill of Rights”. As South Africans we must defend our hard earned democracy; doing such demands that we, as difficult as it may be, recognise and promote the rights of all South Africans to their differing standpoints.
The African National Congress calls on university management across the country to work together with student movements to restore peace and stability on campus.
Issued by ANC