Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s
opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said on Thursday that
it will stage a protest in solidarity with embattled Finance
Minister Pravin Gordhan.
EFF leader Julius Malema told
a press briefing in Johannesburg that the protest will take
place on November 2, the day when Gordhan appears in court to
face fraud charges.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) summoned Gordhan on
Tuesday, ordering him to appear in court to face charges in
relation to the "rogue unit" he set up when he was commissioner
of the South African Revenue Service (SARS) between 1999 and
Gordhan is accused of unlawfully setting up the unit. But he
has denied the accusation, saying the unit was lawfully
established to perform very important functions for and on
behalf of SARS.
The EFF and other political parties have voiced support for
Gordhan, saying they believed that he is innocent.
Malema said President Jacob Zuma and the wealthy Indian Gupta
family, which allegedly keeps close ties with Zuma, want to
force Gordhan to resign and replace him with a puppet and loot
the state resources.
Malema said the protest is also designed to force Zuma to
"Jacob Zuma must immediately step down as President and Head
of State in South Africa.
"The Guptas must be disconnected from all state contracts and
immediately leave South Africa," Malema said.
He also urged Shaun Abrahams, the NPA head, to immediately
Malema accused the Gupta family of siphoning resources from
the country’s state-owned enterprises.
Malema said the EFF also wants to use the protest to press
demand for free education in the country’s universities.
He said the EFF is in solidarity with protesting students who
are calling for zero percent fee increase for 2017 and free
The Guptas have been accused of exerting influence on Zuma in
the appointment of cabinet ministers.
But the Guptas have denied the accusation, saying they have
fallen victim to internal political struggle in South Africa.
Malema said they have already applied and got permission to
protest on November 2.
Classes resume following
weeks of violent student protests in South Africa
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
Classes resumed on Wednesday in some of the
universities hard hit by violent student protests over fee
increases across the country, although not all classes were up
and running fully.
Some campuses, however, are still experiencing protests
including intimidation and violence, Minister of Higher
Education and Training, Blade Nzimande said.
He welcomed the resumption of classes and urged all
stakeholders to work tirelessly to save this year’s academic
A new wave of student protests erupted last month after
Nzimande gave the green light to universities to raise tuition
fees, provided that it does not exceed eight percent.
Dozens of students have been arrested for suspected
involvement in acts of violence, including the burning of public
properties and looting.
In some universities, police fired rubber bullets and stun
grenades to disperse protesting students.
In the Cape Town University of Technology, a building was
torched after students locked two security guards inside the
The guards were later rescued.
"This barbaric behavior and some we have witnessed in some
campuses is unacceptable and should be rejected by society,"
In the Wits University in Johannesburg, protests extended to
the city centre over the past few days. During the protests, a
bus was torched and shops looted.
The horrific scenes "is a clear demonstration that
criminality has infiltrated student’s genuine demands", Nzimande
This kind of behaviour only serves to undermine the
legitimate call by students for free education for the poor, he
The Department of Higher Education and Training has been
working with a number of institutions and stakeholders to try to
find innovative ways for the resumption of the 2016 academic
These engagements have proven to be fruitful, although some
campuses are still experiencing protests including intimidation
and violence, according to Nzimande.
"We are grateful for all efforts by stakeholders who have
been engaging in a number of campuses.
"As we have said before, access to higher education,
especially for the poor, is a societal problem.
"The only way to salvage the situation is commitment to
dialogue," he said.
The minister said the government remains committed to
providing free education to the poor, however this must be
subjected to a process, as led by the Presidential Commission
chaired by Justice Jonathan Heher.
"Government would not like to see our students learning under
conditions where a police officer is placed at the door of a
classroom or police roaming around our campuses," he said.
Campuses are places of learning not for policing, similarly
not for violence, intimidation and destruction of property, the
He defended the move to deploy police at universities hard
hit by student protests, saying the police are there to protect
the rights of protesting students and non-protesting students
who want to go back to class and continue learning.
On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma set up a ministerial task
team to assist in efforts to address the challenges on campuses.
Nzimande pledged to work with the task team and all
stakeholders to ensure that "we do everything in our power to
save the 2016 academic programme".
"Student protests have
been hijacked by opportunistic elements" say ANC
CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) --
The ongoing student protests over fee
increases have been hijacked by opportunistic elements, the
ruling African National Congress (ANC) said on Thursday.
The ANC issued the statement following the arrests of several
individuals, who are not students, for inciting violence during
the student protests that have gripped a number of universities
for weeks across the country.
This is a clear indication that these protests have been
hijacked by "sinister opportunistic elements" and are no longer
solely concerned with the very real dilemma of the cost of
education, ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.
It is with grave concern that the ANC has noted the protests
in the name of free education in various higher education
institutions across the country, he said.
"While the ANC-led government remains committed to ensuring
equitable access to education and free education for the poor,
we condemn in the harshest possible terms the continuing
attempts to disrupt classes and what remains of the academic
year at various campuses," Kodwa said.
The ANC-led government is delivering on its commitment to
ensuring that no child from poor and working class backgrounds
will be denied access to education, he said.
To this end, the government has implemented fee-free schools
at basic education level and the National Students Financial Aid
Scheme (NSFAS) in higher education to afford the poorest access
education, said Kodwa.
Further measures are currently underway to interrogate
broader issues affecting the funding of higher education and the
feasibility of making higher education and training fee free in
South Africa, he said.
The ANC calls on all stakeholders to return to the
negotiation table, where in good faith, a collective resolution
to the current impasse can be found, Kodwa said.
Although classes have resumed in some universities, sporadic
protests continued on Thursday.
Student leaders have threatened to paralyze higher
institutions of learning if their demand for zero percent fee
increase is not met.
South African Wits
University to hold assembly on re-opening class
JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua)
-- After three weeks of protests by
students across the country calling for free education,
University of Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg will on
Friday hold a general assembly to decide whether to re-open
If consensus is not reached during the assembly, the
institution could be forced to shut down completely, said Vice
Chancellor Adam Habib Thursday.
Habib told Xinhua that if the university "is not teaching and
is not doing research, then there is no purpose that it will be
According to Habib, general assemblies were called only when
there were issues of national importance which the university
wanted to put its position on.
Habib said it was not a debating platform, but a very formal
one, preceded by negotiations, which were taking place during
He hoped that that all members of the Wits would arrive at a
On Thursday morning, hundreds of Wits students attempted to
march from the medical school to the main campus in Braamfontein,
but police halted them as they do not have a permit to march.
South Africa unemployment
rate exceeds 25 percent
JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua)
-- South Africa’s unemployment rate
increased from 23.7 percent in 2009 to 25.3 percent in 2015,
according to data released on Tuesday.
During the period, the number of long-term unemployed persons
increased by 828, 000, accounting for 88 percent of the increase
in the total number of the unemployed, Statistics South Africa
said in its Labour Market Dynamics report.
Those who have been unemployed for more than five years
increased from just over one million to 1.5 million over the
period, said the report.
Meanwhile, the share of youth employed in the formal sector
declined from 72 percent in 2009 to 70.3 percent in 2015, while
the share of those employed in private households decreased from
6.4 percent to 5.3 percent and the share of those in the
informal sector increased from 16.4 percent to 17.9 percent.
Nationally, 50.9 percent of unemployed youth had no previous
work experience. Gauteng Province (56.5 percent) has the highest
proportion of unemployed youth with no work experience, whilst
Northern Cape (35.4 percent) had the lowest.