Hawa Mayere | Images: Temba Msiza| 13 October 2016
South African universities in the past few weeks have become a battle flied, more like a war zone where students, private security and police go head on head on a daily basis . It echoes violence, police brutality and an unsafe learning environment.
The ongoing strikes have divided students; you get a group of who feel that they are entitled to free education simply because it was a promised to them by the ruling party. Others feel that tertiary education is something which their parents have worked tirelessly and saved up in order for them to study.
As a university student one of our primary goals is to enter varsity, graduate and have a stable job which has a sustainable income. With the ongoing fees must fall protest that reality is quickly changing into a dream for many. As much as the fees must fall struggle and protest is one to sympathise with, we are clearly not in the right generation for that.
Firstly the strike itself is a disturbance to the academic year. Exams and assignments have been delayed due to the protest whereby a clear and honest answer won’t be given.
Secondly the protest isn’t a peaceful protest. It’s being used as a catalyst by some students and even non students to commit crimes such as arson, looting and damage to property.
Moreover what does striking for free education have to do with torching of a bus or attacks on innocent motorists?
Lastly South Africa is not in a state where it can offer free education especially at a tertiary level. It’s simply not feasible.
And there are other students who share my view. Such as my colleague, Kwandoh Hlongwane who is a second year student at the Tshwane University of Technology: ‘‘South Africa is not a first world country to be able to afford free tertiary education. I mean, we don’t even have proper health care. We still have girls who can’t afford sanitary pads. ’’
Even if free education is obtained, it won’t happen today, tomorrow or in the near future. Employment is a major issue in South Africa, shouldn’t that be something worth tackling right now or would you rather have free education and still be unemployed? This is a situation which will take years and year s to resolve.
It’s advisable for students to return back to classes while talks to get free education are in process.