Johannesburg (Agenzia Fides) - "We appeal to all our students in the beginning of this academic year to return to lectures and to their academic programmes while continuing their legitimate campaign" say the South African Bishops, in an appeal signed on behalf of the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, by His Exc. Mgr. William Slattery, Archbishop of Pretoria, spokesman of the SACBC.
For months South African students have been protesting the rise in tuition fees. In some cases the protests have caused incidents with law enforcement (see Fides 12/10/2016). It is expected that the demonstrations will resume with the beginning of the new academic year.
The Bishops therefore ask students to "consider ways of achieving the outcomes of their campaign without the disruption of the academic programme and without resorting to violence".
The Bishops pledge their support for the call that "education be made accessible for all on a more equitable basis" and pledge their support in negotiations with the various stakeholders. They recognise that the Government has made huge strides in the transformation of education. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 01/02/2017)