‘Burn­ing schools, li­braries set­ting South Africa back’

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

CAPE TOWN — Burn­ing schools, li­braries, and in­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing is set­ting South Africa back from pro­gress­ing as a na­tion, says Arch­bishop of Cape Town Thabo Mak­goba.

Mak­goba, who is also chan­cel­lor of the Univer­sity of the Western Cape, said in a state­ment at the week­end that th­ese fa­cil­i­ties were im­por­tant heritage sites.

“It is in th­ese schools, li­braries and in­sti­tu­tions where peo­ple’s lives have been trans­formed.”

He was “deeply pained” by the in­sta­bil­ity at univer­si­ties, re­fer­ring to protests on cam­pus fol­low­ing an an­nounce­ment by Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Blade Nz­i­mande that univer­si­ties could raise tu­ition fees, but by no more than 8 per­cent.

Mak­goba said th­ese in­sti­tu­tions had moulded lead­ers and trans­formed the lives of chil­dren and fam­i­lies from ru­ral ar­eas and town­ships.

He asked stu­dents to give the fees com­mis­sion the space to do its work and await rec­om­men­da­tions on the fea­si­bil­ity of free ed­u­ca­tion for the poor.

“We must pro­tect our stu­dents’ right to learn in a con­ducive and en­abling en­vi­ron­ment.”

He said it was im­por­tant to re­frain from deep­en­ing in­equal­ity through “de­struc­tive ac­tions”.

“You have the op­por­tu­nity to be part of some­thing big­ger than your­selves. When one day you re­flect on this time, may the story you tell be one that fills you with pride.

“May it be a story that, like the sto­ries your par­ents told you of their fight for your right to equal ed­u­ca­tion, makes fu­ture gen­er­a­tions ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­ni­ties we have that they never had.”

Mean­while, stu­dents will con­tinue their mass protests and will this week take their protest to “a KANO — The em­bat­tled leader of ji­hadist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, resur­faced in a video posted on­line yes­ter­day, re­ject­ing as­ser­tions by the Nige­rian army that he had been se­ri­ously wounded.

“You have been spreading in the so­cial me­dia that you in­jured or killed me,” Shekau said in the 40-minute video re­leased on YouTube and dated Septem­ber 25.

“Oh tyrants, I’m in a happy state, in good health and in safety.”

The Nige­rian army said on Au­gust 23 that Shekau had been se­ri­ously wounded in the shoul­der in an air raid in which sev­eral com­man­ders were killed.

The army’s claim was bol­stered when Boko Haram re­leased a video on Septem­ber 13 with­out Shekau in it.

That video, also posted on YouTube, shows an uniden­ti­fied man who says he is rep­re­sent­ing Shekau, who had al­legedly been ousted by the Is­lamic State group to which Boko Haram pledged al­le­giance in March 2015.

Nige­rian soldiers, with the sup­port of re­gional troops, have re­cap­tured swathes of ter­ri­tory lost to the ji­hadists since they launched a mil­i­tary cam­paign in Fe­bru­ary 2014.

The mass kid­nap­ping of school­girls from the re­mote town of Chi­bok pro­voked global out­rage and brought un­prece­dented at­ten­tion to Boko Haram and its bloody quest to cre­ate a fun­da­men­tal­ist state in north­east­ern Nige­ria.

Mean­while, the gover­nor of Nige­ria’s north­east Borno state has tem­po­rar­ily re­lo­cated to a town that was oc­cu­pied by Boko Haram ex­trem­ists for six months, in an ef­fort to pro­mote re­build­ing.

The re­gion is try­ing to re­cover as the ex­trem­ists slowly lose con­trol of some ar­eas.

The town of Bama’s in­fra­struc­ture was dec­i­mated in re­peated at­tacks.

Kashim Shet­tima says he hopes to jump-start re­build­ing of gov­ern­ment of­fices, mar­kets, clin­ics and schools. He did not say how long he would use the town as a base.

Bama is 70km south­east of Maiduguri, Borno’s cap­i­tal. Boko Haram seized Bama in Septem­ber 2014, and Nige­rian troops re­cap­tured it in March 2015.

In July, the ex­trem­ists at­tacked an aid con­voy trav­el­ling from Bama, and the UN sus­pended aid mis­sions in the area. cen­tre of power”, most likely the Union Build­ings in Pre­to­ria or Luthuli House in Jo­han­nes­burg.

Stu­dents yes­ter­day were locked in mass meet­ings around the coun­try, map­ping a way for­ward fol­low­ing protest ac­tion af­ter Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Blade Nz­i­mande’s an­nounce­ment on fees at univer­si­ties for next year.

Nz­i­mande said that he did the best he pos­si­bly could in mak­ing pro­vi­sion for the poor and the “miss­ing mid­dle” — cat­e­gorised this week as those who have a house­hold in­come of less than R600 000 per year — by way of a 0 per­cent in­crease.

Those who can af­ford univer­sity fees must pay an in­crease, which will be capped at 8 per­cent. The 0 per­cent will ap­ply to at least 70 per­cent of all un­der­grad­u­ates across the coun­try, a short­fall that gov­ern­ment has planned for and that will come in at about R2 bil­lion.

“I would not have made the an­nounce­ment with­out hav­ing spo­ken to the fi­nance min­is­ter. He is the one that will give the de­tails as to where the money will come from and how. I must say he has been un­der­stand­ing and sup­port­ive, which has made my work much eas­ier,” Nz­i­mande said.

Stu­dents who took to the streets this week are call­ing for free ed­u­ca­tion, but some say they will set­tle for the scrap­ping of historic debt and reg­is­tra­tion fees. The de­mands out­side of free ed­u­ca­tion dif­fer from in­sti­tu­tion to in­sti­tu­tion.

At this stage, na­tional co-or­di­na­tion is not as or­gan­ised as it was last year. How­ever, stu­dent lead­ers said the way for­ward was to take their protest to a cen­tre of power. Ini­tially, the JSE head of­fice was con­sid­ered, but a mass meet­ing at the Univer­sity of the Wit­wa­ter­srand re­jected this, say­ing it was not a cen­tre of power. The power is said to be at the Union Build­ings, Par­lia­ment and the head­quar­ters of the gov­ern­ing party, Luthuli House.

In the mean­time, de­trac­tors of Nz­i­mande’s con­ces­sion are com­ing from within the tri­par­tite al­liance it­self. The ANC Youth League has come out strongly in op­po­si­tion to Nz­i­mande’s an­nounce­ment. Re­la­tions be­tween the league and the min­is­ter — who is the sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the SA Com­mu­nist Party — have been tu­mul­tuous since the elec­tion of the league’s lead­ers last year.

The league’s sec­re­tary-gen­eral, Njabulo Nzuza, said that they had made their de­mands very clear dur­ing their en­gage­ments with Nz­i­mande.

“We told him, if you have any in­ten­tion of any fee in­crease, you must show steps to­wards the re­al­i­sa­tion of free ed­u­ca­tion. The first thing would be to scrap reg­is­tra­tion fees. The gov­ern­ment sub­si­dies must be made avail­able to the univer­si­ties ear­lier, so they do not re­quire reg­is­tra­tion fees. That in­di­cates you are will­ing to find a way to im­ple­ment free ed­u­ca­tion,” Nzuza said.

The em­bat­tled Nz­i­mande em­pha­sised that blame for the fees cri­sis could not be placed on his shoul­ders alone.

“The is­sue of fund­ing is a col­lec­tive gov­ern­ment and ANC al­liance re­spon­si­bil­ity. It mustn’t be re­duced to an in­di­vid­ual. Where I have been given money, I have done my job.

“Don’t gam­ble with the fu­ture of our young peo­ple just be­cause you are pur­su­ing a nar­row, fac­tion­al­ist po­si­tion. All of us in the al­liance have to learn that fac­tion­al­ism does not help and it is worse if you gam­ble with [the lives of] young peo­ple.” — Sapa

Em­bat­tled Boko Haram leader Shekau resur­faces in video

Re­flected in a mir­ror, a man points his cane to­ward images of golfer Tiger Woods and a statue of ten­nis great Ser­ena Wil­liams at the mu­seum in Wash­ing­ton DC. — AP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.