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Shutdown of universities will have 'devastating effects'

Advocate Thuli Madonsela spoke about fee protests at the Ahmed Kathrada Lecture in Johannesburg.

A demonstrating #FeesMustFall member holds up a placard during protests over tertiary education fees in Pretoria on 10 October 2016. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Advocate Thuli Madonsela says while she supports the Fees Must Fall movement, the academic year needs to be saved, adding that the shutdown of universities will have devastating effects.

Madonsela delivered her first speech as an ordinary citizen yesterday at the annual Ahmed Kathrada Foundation lecture in Newtown. She spoke on 'what must rise' in South Africa.

Madonsela says there is a need for leaders such as the likes of Kathrada, Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu and more from that era.

She says her office has dealt with matters relating to the Fees Must Fall movement and how some students are living in extreme poverty, in a quest of obtaining a qualification.

Madonsela believes some of the living conditions students are subjected to are deplorable, which makes learning almost impossible.

However, she adds that suspending the academic year will have many disastrous consequences.

Madonsela says everyone should try play their part and contribute whatever they can to assist students battling to get through university.

"People who are trapped at the bottom of society because of persisting racial disparities compounded by gender discrimination and class inequality will [remain] trapped at the bottom of society."

WATCH: Thuli Madonsela on #WhatMustRise in SA

FUNDING NEGOTIATIONS

Government has called on students and universities across the country to allow space for ongoing consultations in pursuit of a sustainable solution to the current funding crisis.

It has also called for the increased violence and destruction of property associated with student protests to stop immediately.

It has reassured students that the higher education fee crisis is receiving its full attention.

Government has called on all sectors of society to join hands with the state, to bring peace and stability to South Africa's tertiary institutions.

Spokesperson Donald Liphoko says government condemns the recent violent scenes on campuses urging students not to participate in unlawful conduct.

Government says a ministerial task team, appointed by the president, is in urgent discussions with different sectors of society to find appropriate solutions to the unrest at various institutions.

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