A wide cross-section of civil society – unions, students organisations, faith based groups, community organisations and NGOs – with a collective membership of over a million people, strongly condemn the decision taken by the authorities to ban a peaceful march for the right to a quality public education for all, planned for June 10th 2010.
This growing coalition of civil society has been brought together by our deep concern around the state of education. While children in South Africa have formal ‘access’ to schooling, the lack of quality of education is a crisis. South African education is deeply divided and not serving our children. The crisis in education puts our democracy under threat.
We have come together to take forward an education campaign calling for a “Quality Public Education for All”. As a part of this campaign we have been organizing a peaceful march on the 10th of June for quality education for all of our children. We have just been informed by Johannesburg Metro Police, without any substantive reasons , or legal basis, that all marches and gatherings, including ours, have been banned in South Africa for the whole of June until 15thJuly 2010. A scheduled meeting with the police to discuss the refusal was cancelled without adequate explanation.
We are deeply concerned by this suspension of our Constitutional right to assemble, protest and present petitions at this important moment in our history. This bodes ill for our democracy and we call on all to raise their voices against this violation of our rights.