PORT ELIZABETH – The Democratic Alliance (DA) wants the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and other groups allegedly involved in vandalism at universities to pay back the money for damages caused at campuses worth more than R150-million.
DA MP Yusuf Cassim said in a statement on Tuesday that universities affected by violent student protests had recorded damages worth more than R150-million.
Cassim said the money would be needed for the rebuilding and refurbishment at various university campuses.
“Re-building these campuses, including making up for the lost-time to students, will no doubt be carried by the universities themselves.
“Our universities are already cash-strapped and inevitably the burden of paying for this brazen right wing vandalism will be carried by the poorest of students, who are desperate to access higher education so that they can one day get a job.”
Cassim said that the EFF, and other radical groups including #RhodesMustFall, needed to take responsibility for their “rogue elements by heeding their own words and helping #paybackthemoney for these damages”.
He added that radical groups, and the EFF particularly, had continually incited and perpetuated violence and instability through threats of war on campuses across the country.
“The various groupings have been using violent and racially divisive language to communicate with students, instead of contributing towards a supported peaceful engagement between student bodies and their respective institutions of higher learning, to find sustainable solutions to the issues plaguing campuses across South Africa,” said Cassim.
Cassim said that the DA had since laid a complaint at the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) against one identified leader in the EFF structure, Omphile Seleke, who allegedly incited chaos and violence at the University of Pretoria (Tuks) campus in particular.
“We have also since laid criminal charges against the EFF for inciting violence on campuses relating to this same post, which set out how to make a petrol bomb. The post was shared by the EFF Student Command at the University of Pretoria.”
Cassim slammed the EFF for “perpetuating violence and instability” instead of rather “finding solutions” to the problems that students face on a daily basis.