23 OCTOBER 2015
The Claremont Main Road Mosque (CMRM) fully supports the peaceful and legitimate student protests across the country whilst we strongly condemn the criminalisation and disproportionately violent response being witnessed by all. We endorse the calls made for a moratorium on fee increments and for meaningful dialogue and interventions, with regard to student fees, outsourcing of workers and transformation of higher education institutions.
University campuses are meant to be safe spaces for students and staff to freely exchange and express ideas. The actions of the police, supported by university management on some campuses, violated this space and perpetuated violence (in all of its forms) on students, staff and workers. The use of excessive and unwarranted force by the police and lack of meaningful engagement with student activists by university management contradicts the efforts to build cohesive spaces for dialogue on campuses.
History teaches us that it is students who have been at the forefront of social justice struggles and thus we recognise the importance of the struggle of students for the decolonisation of their institutions and opening up access to higher education to all academically deserving students. We should be inspired by the commitment and courage of students who are speaking truth to power and striving to effect radical change in our country, for the benefit of all. The constitutional right of students to protest peacefully should be protected at all costs and we all need to support this struggle for social justice, whilst guarding against all forms of political opportunism, across the political spectrum.
- We call on university management, the Minister of Higher Education and the President to put free education as a priority on the national agenda.
- We further call on the media to refrain from criminalising student protest action and activists. This prejudicial reporting is unacceptable and further perpetuates the view that students are out of control, whilst the attitude and actions of both the police and some university managers lacks control and accountability.
- Finally, we call for the dropping of all charges against those facing criminalisation for participating in legitimate protests.
Jaamia Galant (Secretary) and Mujahid Osman
On behalf of CMRM Board