Cosas apologises to hawkers

The Congress of SA Students (Cosas) apologised on Monday to hawkers for the behaviour of some students during a protest in Johannesburg central, which resulted in four pupils being injured.

"Yes, we are apologising to hawkers," Cosas president Collen Malatji said, without giving further details.

In a statement, the provincial education department said Cosas met education MEC Panyaza Lesufi on Monday morning to make the apology.

"In a meeting convened by the Gauteng MEC for education... Cosas... apologised unreservedly for the manner in which some learners who participated in the march behaved, particularly towards hawkers," department spokeswoman Phumla Sekhonyane said.

Malatji clarified this saying, Cosas did not apologise to Lesufi but to the hawkers.

Last week Wednesday, pupils from different schools in Gauteng, led by Cosas, marched from Park Station to the education department building on Albertina Sisulu street. They then moved to the Gauteng legislature before returning to Park Station.

They handed over a memorandum of demands to Lesufi.

Some of the demands included an end to corporal punishment, a ban on application fees for placement at tertiary institutions, proper food in feeding schemes, and an end to the non-delivery of textbooks and other learning materials.

Some protesters looted shops and picked up hawkers' stands and threw them to the ground. Four pupils were taken to hospital after being attacked by shop owners for looting.

No permission had been granted for the protest, metro police said at the time.

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