Arrest those school loafers or force them to study‚ says Jacob Zuma

Former President Jacob Zuma calls for school loafers to be forced to complete their studies as a step to rebuild the nation.
Former President Jacob Zuma calls for school loafers to be forced to complete their studies as a step to rebuild the nation.
Image: REUTERS/Sumaya Hisham

If you should be at school and you're not‚ then former president Jacob Zuma wants you arrested or taken to an island and forced to finish your studies.

The former president made a call that loitering school children should be arrested in addition to a controversial suggestion that free school education must now be made compulsory.

He stopped short of calling for the reinstatement of corporal punishment‚ which was abolished by the Schools Act of 1996‚ saying things were wrong because children were not being punished if they were wrong.

Zuma made the controversial call during his keynote address at a gala dinner organised by the National Funeral Practitioners Association of SA (Nafupa-SA) at the Olive Convention Centre in Durban on Thursday night.

Zuma said errant children must be taken to nearby islands where colleges must be built to force them to get educated until they finished school.

“We are not arresting them. We take them and educate them by force until they have completed their education. By so doing we will be building the nation. We need to speed up the debate on making education compulsory‚” he said.

The gala dinner was hosted in “appreciation” for Zuma’s work on radical economic transformation and infrastructure development‚ for which he was presented with two awards.

Zuma said the government’s decision to offer free tertiary education was like “taking a corner to real freedom” and also meant that “we’re now heading to be able to run our own country”.

“No matter what people may say‚ among the things we had to do was to make sure that the majority of people who were deprived education by apartheid were not deprived when the government is run by us.

“Free education is going to quickly develop the African nation because before‚ even those who were bright sparks were left behind because they did not have money to get educated. Now no one is going to be left behind‚” said Zuma.

He said since the Freedom Charter‚ which was adopted by the ANC and its allies in 1950‚ advocated for a free and compulsory education‚ it was now time to fight for education to be compulsory because it was free.

“We must fight for it to be compulsory. We need to take a decision now to say that because education is now free no African child should be found loitering in the streets during school hours. A child loitering during school hours should be arrested by the police so that they can explain why they are not at school because parents are no longer paying for education‚” said Zuma.

He said children needed to be protected against druglords who were deliberately destroying the nation by supplying them with drugs.

“We need to protect our children. They won’t stop to do wrong things if they are not punished. We’re saying that our children should not be punished when they are wrong. We are what we are because we were punished as children. But I am not saying anything.”

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