Whether you love him or you hate him, award-winning political cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro – aka Zapiro – is someone whose work is relevant to all South Africans. His latest cartoon is no exception – in the wake of nationwide student protests, speculation has run high over the outside influences which were said to be responsible for much of the violence associated with the otherwise largely peaceful protests.

In this cartoon published on 8 November in the Sunday Times, Zapiro gives us his version of this outside influence which was supposedly responsible for the unrest.third force

“The acting national police commission believes there was something sinister behind the student protests against escalating tuition fees, telling a parliamentary committee that protests were organised by external force. State Security Minister David Mahlobo says political elements and non-students hijacked the recent tuition fee protests,” said Zapiro on his website.

There have been claims that a third force was behind the nationwide demonstrations which saw universities around the country being shut down. Mahlobo says troublemakers tried to opportunistically hijack last month’s chaotic protests at the Union Buildings.

“People who were not students came in and caused disruptions. They even burned toilets. Then there are also elements of other opportunists who brought in issues of politics,” Mahlobo is quoted as saying.