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Voices

Student revolt: This bill of goods never pays off

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ERROL HORWITZ

On the face of it, one can understand Mantashe’s outburst. His ANC government is in the grip of a student revolt about which he and his party comrades are at loss as what to do next – a scenario of damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Shutting down universities would, according to Mantashe, bring protesting students to their senses. A simplistic and myopic reaction to a problem that has been festering for decades.

A problem which the ANC elite has purposely neglected, paraphrasing Mantashe, to deepen the crisis before solving it. A radical approach that will only stoke the fires of student rage and reinforce implacable resistance to reasoned compromise.

The born-free generation was handed false hope and promise of “a better life for all”, but instead are captives to an endless cycle of poverty and exclusion. They have finally realised that the ANC government sold them a bill of goods which never pays off.

The clarion call of battle trumpets will continue to be heard, despite the deployment of stun grenades, teargas and rubber bullets. It has little impact in drowning out a clear message to government from South African students: “We have been patient, given you plenty of chances. We have finally learned that your promise of a better life was bogus. No more!”

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