UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

KILLING OF STUDENT IS UNACCEPTABLE!
UDM YOUTH SLAMS UDW POLICE ACTION!

MEDIA STATEMENT ISSUED BY VUSI SKHOSANA
UDM YOUTH NATIONAL ORGANISER

 The UDM Youth condemns the killing of Mr MM Makhubane, who was a student at the University of Durban Westville, as well as the possible killing of another, during last week’s police action at the University.

The UDM Youth questions the public order policing strategy, by which a situation that posed no threat to life and limb, resulted in the death of an unarmed student.  The clear message from the police is, that in tense situations their strategy is limited to the use of firearms.  This is unacceptable in a democratic society considering that police were faced with angry students, not gun-toting criminals. It is despairing that the Public Order Police seem to have no strategy to deal with unarmed protesters.

It is extremely regrettable and unfortunate that elements within the body of protesting student steered a peaceful protest towards violence and these elements should be brought to order by their leaders.  There is however no proportionality between the throwing of stones at a shielded policemen and the indiscriminate firing of guns on fleeing students, as has been alleged by eyewitnesses.  The image of a second year student laying in a pool of blood on the property of his campus of choice, leaves a bitter taste, reminiscent of times and places that have shamed our country.  The situation cannot be allowed to repeat itself on any campus of our Country.

Accordingly in this increasingly tense situation, the UDM Youth makes the following calls;

  • that the administration of UDW re-opens channels of negotiation and communicate with student bodies to resolve this crisis;

  • that all parties involves, work to ensure the re-opening of the institution as soon as possible;

  • that the national Department of Safety and Security spell out an operational guideline with regard to the handling of such situations;

  • that student leaders work to calm the situation.  The UDM Youth believes the lack of personal finance should not prevent a young person from enrolling in higher education.  We also would like to call upon Government to speed up implementation of policy particularly in relation with Section 8.1.3 pertaining to student financing;

  • that the financial aid programme for further and higher education be strengthened and

  • that a feasibility investigation be conducted into qualifying and renegotiating student debt.

A good start would be for all parties at UDW, to recognise their mutual interest in returning the Campus to normality.  UDM Youth and its student wing UDESMO are following the situation at UDW closely.

Enquiries:
Vusi Skhosansa
UDM Youth National Organiser

Pretoria
23 May 2000