Police commissioner rules out state of emergency as protests intensify

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Johannesburg, 10 October 2016 - Some students taking part in protests at Wits University are receiving medical attention after they clashed with police. Wits University SRC Secretary General, Fasiha Hassan, explains what happened.

PRETORIA – Acting South African National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane on Monday ruled out declaring a state of emergency following violent clashes between police and students at various university campuses.

READ: Wits students vow to continue protests

Speaking after violence erupted at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) on Monday morning, and later spread to the streets of Johannesburg, Phahlane called on students to “exercise restraint”.

 

 

“We believe that sense will prevail. Parents must play their part. Academics must play their part. Religious leaders and all other role players must actively engage. We can’t see ourselves in a state of emergency,” Phahlane told reporters at a media briefing in Pretoria.

 

 

“As and when the need arises, there are processes to be activated, but we believe we are too far from a state of emergency. This is an issue we are grappling with in confined spaces – the institutions of learning.”

Phahlane repeated claims that criminal elements were using the students’ quest for free education to further their own interests.

 

 

“The evidence or information at our disposal suggests that this is no more a #FeesMustFall matter. We have seen that criminals have taken advantage of the situation. People with agendas of their own have infiltrated the #FeesMustFall initiative…”