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Zuma: Protests should never be at expense of others

The president says students who still have grievances in 2016 shouldn’t allow their cause to be hijacked.

FILE. President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma says while all South Africans have the right to protest, demonstrations should never be at the expense of others.

Government and universities have allocated R2.3 billion to support the implantation of a zero percent fee increase at universities next year.

This week, a presidential task team appointed to look into funding shortages at tertiary institutions reported back to Zuma about issues that could possibly cause more student protests next year.

Zuma says those who have grievances shouldn't allow their cause to be hijacked.

"They must understand what the demands are. We should not have others who take advantage of that situation to advance unknown interests."

In October, students across the country participated in the Fees Must Fall protests demanding the scrapping of fee increases for next year, as well as free education.

The presidential task team says a shortfall at the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has resulted in the accumulation of over R4 billion of university debt held by students.

The team has called for more than R2 billion, separate to the money that will be used to fund the fees increase shortfall, to be made available to cover existing student debt.

A further R2 billion should be made available to cover those who were at risk of being underfunded for the 2016 academic year.

In order to achieve these goals, government will have to prioritise them in its budget allocations.

Universities will also contribute financially.