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UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE

ANC-ALIGNED STUDENTS MUST BE DISCIPLINED

STATEMENT ISSUED BY PROF LM MBADI, MP
UDM SPOKESPERSON FOR EDUCATION

The damage left in the wake of thousands of protesting members of Sasco and Cosas, illustrates the moral rot in society. Subsequent condemnation by the ANC and the leadership of these organisations comes as little comfort. What guarantees are there that any disciplinary action will be taken by these organisations? What guarantees are there that these tuype pf actions will not be repeated? The mother bodies of these student organisations must carry some responsibility for this unacceptable behaviour.

This type of militancy makes a mockery of democracy. It is a worrying sign for South Africa when students resort to such violence and thuggery, instead of studying. Education is a basic right that carries with it major responsibilities. For the march-organisers it is sufficient to blame "uninvited" participants. Basic concepts such as responsibility and civil obedience seem of little concern. And then, to emphasize their attitude, the organisers continue to blackmail the authorities with unspecified "serious action" if their demands are not met.

This incident, and many others, betrays the moral bankruptcy of our society. Many youths are undoubtedly cynical about life in the new South Africa. Instead of preserving their own inheritance and constructively contributing towards their own future, they rather abandon all the democratic principles their parents struggled so hard for. It is in this context no surprise that the voter turnout amongst our young people has been so low.

As a society we must address the concerns of our youth, but similarly we expect them to uphold, not disregard, democracy. Such unruly behaviour by the leaders of tomorrow does not bode well for the future of a democratic South Africa.

Enquiries:

Prof Mututuzeli Mbadi, MP
UDM Spokesperson for Education

Cape Town
02 March 2001

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