Partisan Defense Committee Letter

25 October 2016

Partisan Defense Committee P.O. Box 99, Canal Street Station, New York, NY 10013


Contact: Kevin Gilroy (212) 406-4252

The following letter was written by the Partisan Defense Committee.

25 October 2016

President Jacob Zuma
Office of the President
Private Bag X1000
Pretoria, South Africa 0001

Dear Sir:

The Partisan Defense Committee condemns the brutal police attacks against South African university students demanding free quality education. Police atrocities under the direction of the Tripartite Alliance government include the arrest of over 500 students, apartheid-era early morning raids on dormitories and homes of sleeping students and the use of tear gas and rubber bullets.

Students from Pretoria to Johannesburg to Cape Town to Durban -- such as Mcebo Dlamini, former Student Representative Council president at Wits University and Masixole Mlandu, University of Cape Town student leader -- have been arrested, detained and denied bail, reminiscent of the dreaded General Laws Amendment Act of B.J. Vorster and Special Branch operations of the 1960s. Police have also fired on individuals trying to attend classes, students taking refuge in a church, as well as campus workers, some of whom were simply trying to defend students from police violence. One student leader remains in the hospital after rubber bullets were fired at her point-blank in the back. Much of the police repression has been directed at predominantly black students who live in dormitories on campuses.

We stand in solidarity with the protesting students and their demand for free quality education, without which black youth are condemned to low-paid jobs or forced into South Africa’s existing unemployed masses. A mere 3.2 percent of black youth aged 18 to 29 attend schools of higher education, and of that figure, 85 percent drop out.

The PDC demands an immediate halt to all police attacks, their withdrawal from all campuses and freedom for all arrested student protesters. We demand that all charges be dropped against all student protesters and that they be reinstated in their schools.

Yours truly,
Gene Herson
Labor Coordinator for the PDC


  • Universities South Africa
  • Dr. Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education and Training
  • Mninwa Johannes Mahlangu, South Africa Ambassador to the U.S.