Welcoming Message from the President:
2018 the year of free education
For years in succession, SASCO embarks in one of the most important annual programs the Right To Learn Campaign. The foundation of this campaign is based on our constitutional obligation to ensure access and holistic transformation of higher education sector. It is during this campaign where the legacy of the apartheid colonial rule that championed the segregation of our people’s camp along class, racial and gender lines will be palpable.
In the past years, majority of prospect students from the poor and the working class background have been turned away from the gates of higher learning institutions because they could not afford the skyrocketed fees and manufactured academic access points whilst spaces were reserved for those at the top of the economic pyramid. Institutional autonomy has been used as a ticket to run institutions as businesses where vice-chancellors act as CEO’s deciding on who must access institutions and how they must access, using the point system as the baseline without consideration of the socio-economic impact on the prospect student.
We begin this year in vivid spirit having emerged from a very united 20th National Congress. The congress mandated us to unsettle the status quo in the education system and adopted the following theme: “2017 the year of Oliver Tambo, the year of free quality education united to dismantle the doors of culture and learning”, we must, therefore, use this RTLC program to fight against the violation of the Right Learn and ensure that the doors of learning our opened for young people.
As a result of our spirited and concerted efforts we were able to force the government to bow to call for the implementation of free quality education by 2018, on the 16th of December 2017, the President of the republic Mr. Jacob Zuma announced the implementation of free quality education for the poor and the working class starting this year. His pronouncement amongst other things covered the following:
- Fully subsidized TVET education
- Conversion of NSFAS into a grant and increased threshold from 120 000-350
- Prioritizing infrastructure in the TVET sector
- Increase GDP to 1%
- Commitment to building student accommodation
- Cancellation of REGISTRATION FEES
- Acceleration of curriculum review
Following this pronouncement, we urge all our structures, members and our deployees to be vigilant against the reactionary vice-chancellors and corrupt Rectors in the TVET sector, we must ensure the full implementation of the government commitment willy-nilly.
TVET sector plays a critical role in the economic development of the country by providing much required number of skills as envisaged in the NDP, therefore SASCO this year will run spirited campaigns to boost the image of the TVET sector and making TVETs institutions of CHOICE not an extension of a university branch. Our cadres must be combat ready against the delay in the release of results and certificates in TVETs.
We call on all SASCO members to commit to serving the entire student population selflessly without a motive of material personal gain, and we must ensure that SASCO remains the shield and true representative of ALL students who are victims of the system.
Consistent to our demand for success, we wish to encourage all students who are due to write their exams to come back and prepare for their examination to ensure that they progress to the next level of their studies.
The South African Students’ Congress wishes to extend a special word of welcome to all returning students; we believe all students have prepared themselves to begin their 2018 academic year with much stamina and determination to succeed.
We call on ALL students regardless of nationality, class, gender, and race to join us in our pursuit for the accelerated implementation of free quality education and also join to become active members of SASCO.
We wish to send a special welcome to matric class of 2017 and congratulate those who will be first-time students both in the TVET and Universities, SASCO cadres are readily available to assist you.
On behalf of SASCO 20th NEC, I would like to wish all of you a successful year ahead. I hereby declare SASCO RTLC 2018 Open. Student first, SASCO to the Front!!!!
President Mjajubana Avela
Cell: 078 253 8406
- The South African Students Congress (SASCO) is duly mandated by its founding principles and objectives to struggle for access and success in all tertiary institutions in South Africa. This makes a campaign such as the Right to Learn Campaign (RTLC) one of the most important campaigns that this organization runs in all Technical, Vocational Education and Training Colleges(TVET), Universities and Universities of Technologies. It is the mission of this organization to first ensure that young people of South Africa access the tertiary environment without any hindrances and where these exists they should be fought with outmost dedication and This is a campaign that the great revolutionary student movement cannot afford to fail in executing.
- The organization sees itself as responsible for the entirety of the education landscape and as such we have been assisting 2017 matriculants through our Adopt a School Campaign. Most of our structures engaged in tutorship and mentorship for these learners, working with the Congress of South African Students ( COSAS) in some instances. We assisted these students with the sole intention that they pass and get university entrance, making the decision to go to a TVET College or a University of Technology a choice of the student. We need to ensure that these students therefore get the space to study as we had committed last year. Central to the campaign is to also ensure that upon registering in the various institutions, a proper environment of living and learning is created so that there is success for these new entrants and the students that were already on the system. This therefore makes the RTLC a continuous programme of the organization and which involves all matters relating to access and success. This is therefore not a campaign for the beginning of the first and second semester; current and prospective students ought to be assisted in all material times about questions of application, registration and creation of a living and learning environment for success.
- Our national conference and national general council mandated us to link our Right to Learn Campaign (RTLC) with the Free Education Struggle. All our activists should work knowing that they are not only engaged in this tactical campaign but are working for the attainment of our strategic objective for free quality and compulsory higher education. This means that the tempo of our Right to Learn campaigning ought to be increased drastically so that this pronouncement by the NC is not simply a paper resolution but something that we can see being actioned by the organization at all levels. We must enter this period knowing that it must be characterized by mass action where necessary for we will never win on the boardroom what we have not won on the streets.
- The pronouncement by government committing on implementation of free education for the poor and working class by 2018 is a major advance by the student movement in the course of free education. SASCO volunteers must take full advantage of this advance and ensure that all deserving students are registered. This will mean that SASCO volunteers must be on the ground ensuring widened access and making the government to implement its
2.1.Everything for Students and the Membership
- What should guide all our RTLC efforts is the conviction that everything is done for the benefit of students who will later constitute the membership of the organization. This means that this campaign should not be simply taken as a recruiting platform at face value but it should be understood that it is easier to recruit those prospective members who are either assisted by the organization or who are seeing the organization assisting other students. This is something that should always be kept in mind and nothing should be done for the benefit of individual leaders of the organization during this campaign. Everything must be done with the thinking that the students and membership of SASCO drives the programme of the organization and therefore they sustain its existence.
2.2. Collective Action and Leadership
- When leading the campaign, our comrades must ensure that they do so with outmost humility and due diligence in that they do not use the campaign for their personal benefit but for the benefit of the organization as a whole. This means that at all times information ought to be shared and that leaders and activists of the organization working on the campaign should always be on par on all issues affecting the organization and the campaign. The RTLC requires collective wisdom and action, and unity of No individual activist should want to utilize this campaign in order to shine above other comrades and in some instances the organization itself.
2.3. Mandate and Accountability
- Mandate and accountability should be exercised throughout the campaign and that all members of the organization must respect leading structures when they are giving a mandate and after the execution of such mandate there should be proper reporting. Because of problems in the past, it is important that SRC Deployees respect the authority and leadership of the BEC, REC and the PEC and should always do as mandated. It is of cause not wrong for deployees to give advices to these structures on relevant action to be taken but this should not be viewed as a substitute to the mandate given by these
- It is through the principle of mandate and accountability that SASCO NEC will also be deployed to all regions to facilitate the right to learn
- Most information on campuses is public information. Managements must be transparent about our institutions’ policies and administration processes. Our SRC deployees also must not assist the management in hiding information from us through the so-called ‘confidentiality clauses’. Transparency must prevail; we have the right to know figures and accurate information about the number of students accepted for registration, number of students registered and those with or without financial assistance. Campus authorities must comply with the Access to Information
The Right to Learn Campaign is aimed at a variety of things strategically and tactically and amongst these are to:
➢ Fight the usual blockages to access such as exorbitant fee increases and skyrocketed upfront payments demanded by institutions especially TVET colleges.
➢ This includes ensuring in TVET Colleges that the full NSFAS funding that the Department boasts about is indeed operational
➢ To ensure that no upfront payments are demanded by any institution or TVET college
➢ To assist all students with problems relating to registration and any academically related queries, including access to important student support services and general information
➢ To ensure that historic debt is cleared
➢ To help students who have been unfairly excluded by the system be it financially or academically
➢ To assist students who have outstanding fees that they cannot afford to get assistance so that they register in the institution, with the option of payment plans with the universities being the last resort.
➢ To sustain the profile of SASCO as a hegemonic and reliable political force in students
struggles by being relevant to student issues and by recruiting new members
➢ To incorporate campaigning and mobilization of students and intensify ideological and political training.
➢ To protect prospective students from bogus colleges
➢ To protect prospective and new students from parasitic owners of flats and parasitic metropolitan life
The objectives of the campaign are to fight for a variety of things that are legally and morally due to students. In trying to achieve our rights and dues, we always fight against a variety of challenges in the system which include but are not limited to:
➢The exclusion of students with outstanding debts for the 2017 academic year and previous years
➢ The inconsistency between policy and practice in NSFAS in the FET Sector, particularly as it relates to the policy that NSFAS fully funds for poor students
➢ The financial exclusion of students whose debts were not paid in full by NSFAS when they were entitled to such payments
➢ To assist those students who signed loan agreement forms of NSFAS and later to be told that those forms were not budgeted for
➢ The challenges of racial discrimination and other forms of discrimination that students suffer during or after registration
➢ The lack of residences that causes a lot of suffering for poor students who cannot afford the expensive private accommodation
➢ The challenge of corruption by officials and preferential treatment of students
➢The challenge on certain campuses of the refusal of the NSFAS to pay for the registration fees
➢ The tendency by some officials to refuse to use of NSFAS to pay students registered for B-Tech
➢ The inadequate and incompetent NSFAS officials who facilitate the exclusion of financial aid dependent students
➢ The victimization of students leaders, mostly SASCO, who are working to ensure that corrupt managers are exposed and that students freely access the system
➢ The inadequacy on student accommodation
NB: As we do all these, we must continue with our struggle for completely free, quality public education for all. This includes the struggle against any registration fees and denial of registration to all academically and morally deserving students.
➢ The basic unit of the organization is the branch and this is why it is the delivery site of the Right to Learn Campaign (RTLC). Branches therefore have a serious responsibility in the implementation of this campaign. They are required to be at the forefront of this campaign and always ensure that they provide direction in leading this campaign within these national guidelines. SASCO deployees in SRC must also play a role in ensuring the efficient implementation of the RTLC. However, we should avoid outsourcing the RTLC to our deployees in student governance particularly on campuses where we are in charge of SRCs. The specific role to be played by our SRC deployees in the RTLC ought to be collectively determined by the constitutional structures of the organization. Students must know SASCO as reliable political force ready to address student issues — not some ordinary student organization whose voice is only heard during SRC elections.
➢All PEC’s are expected to submit a report of the status of their respective provinces within 2 weeks of the commencement of the RTLC.
➢Upper structures (NEC, PEC, and RECs) are expected to be in branches for the implementation of the RTLC. They have a duty to provide consistent political and organizational support to branches. Leaders from upper structures must respect and work together with the branch leadership. The branch leadership has an equal obligation to respect and work together with upper structures.
➢ Beyond providing support to the various branches, RECs, PECs and the NEC have a responsibility to initiate and design certain programmes in advancement of the objectives of the campaign. The setting up of operational centres and information stalls in campuses where there was no branch before or where there is a collapsed branch should be properly managed by the REC , PEC and NWC. The identification of bogus colleges is another programme that the REC and the PEC can embark upon beyond giving political and organisational support to branches. The RTLC is a unitary campaign and every member need to work towards its successful implementation. Whereas upper structures will be working closely with the branches, there needs to be a reporting system that will help us establish the state of the RTLC on a regular basis. This is also necessary so that upper structures are able to make strategic interventions on certain specific cases that may arise. Our Right to Learn Campaign this year starts on the 05th of January and the reporting format shall be as outlined below:
➢ There should be daily briefings by activists and volunteers on the campaign on how the campaign proceeded each day. These should happen through extended BEC meetings but it should nonetheless be understood that these are not constitutional gatherings.
➢ As will be below proposed, the Campaigns Committee and the Media Committee should also be having these regular meetings and briefings either within these BEC extended meetings or parallel to them but reporting to the BEC.
➢ All BECs are required to have at least two constitutional meetings per week, where they must receive reports on all work done by activists, deployees and committees. The purpose of these meetings is to make regular assessment of the work done and strategize on how best to improve the implementation of the RTLC. A report must be provided by deployees in each of these meetings.
➢ All BECs are required to submit written RTLC reports to the REC’s (or PEC where there are no regions) on weekly basis. The REC’s must forward the reports to the PEC within a week after receipt.
➢ In turn, PEC’s are required to fortnightly submit written reports to the Office of the Secretary General. PECs must not just cut and paste reports from branches or region, these should be a summary of the state of the RTLC in the province. These reports will include also efforts done by other structures such as the REC and the PEC itself.
➢ The strike plan should also be communicated in this format and that if the NEC sees a
need for a general student strike for funding and access to the system, it should not be an isolated cases but all our affected campuses must strike in order to make the impact to be nationally felt.
➢ The PECs are required to submit to the Secretary General’s office a list of all Branch Secretaries and chairpersons, a list of all SRC Presidents and secretaries and a list of all regional secretaries and chairpersons. This information is required not later than the 15th of January. These should contain contact details.
➢ These guidelines must be communicated to branches upon receipt as they are.
A variety of tactical considerations and actions needs to be made during the Right to Learn Campaign (RTLC). Many of these tactics will vary from campus to campus due to the heterogeneity of our conditions and challenges. On top of this, many of the actions we are going to take cannot be predetermined; this is why we need dynamic comrades who will sometimes be able to take certain decisions on spot. Assisting a student is a most genuine form of contact that the organisation has with such a student and therefore creating an impression is very important in this regard. Below are some tactical considerations that are worth considering:
6.1. Functioning of BEC Portfolios
➢ All BEC portfolios should be fully functional during this period. It is a basic requirement in the organisation that under each portfolio in the BEC there ought to be a committee headed by a portfolio bearer and reporting to the BEC. The Branch Chair and Secretary are ex-officio members of such committees. It is advisable that two such committees, the Campaigns Sub-Committee and the Media and Publicity be formed during this time in order to assist in the execution of the campaign. Whilst it is advisable that other committees such as the Political Education Committee, the Gender Committee and the Transformation Committee are formed during this time, the work of these committees may not be necessarily required during the initial phases of the RTLC.
➢ All branches are thus expected to establish effective campaigns sub-committees
which will lead the implementation of the right to learn campaign under the stewardship of the BEC. At least two members of the committee should be BEC members and it should equally serve as a way of ensuring participation by the general membership in the campaign. All our SRC deployees should serve in this subcommittee on an ex officio basis in order to ensure consistency, synchronization and optimal results.
➢ Our Media and Publicity Officers with the Branch Chairperson and Secretary should
head a Media and Publicity Committee. The task includes disseminating information to all students and parents throughout the registration period. The media faces of our campaign will be restricted to aforementioned portfolios and it should never be forgotten that the branch chairperson is the official spokesperson of the organisation; this is equally the case with the regional chairperson, the provincial chair and the president. Campus radio and community radio station, local newspapers and all other forms of media should be targeted in efforts to establish a sound media profile for the organisation. Pamphlets, flyers and posters should also be developed and distributed by this committee. We must properly introduce SASCO and its programmes, particularly the Right to Learn Campaign.
6.2. Operational Centres and Information Stalls
➢ Branch operation centres should be established in all campuses and these should be where meetings sit and tasks are allocated each day before the start of the campaign. Although this will work much better in an office space, this should not be made a perquisite for the establishment of these centres. Information stalls will also have to be established and there should be two of these; one for application and registration assistance and the other for recruitment to the organisation. Both these stalls should be located close to the registration venue and the banner of SASCO should be displayed at all time in them.
➢ All organisational documents should be made available to people who recently join and if resources causes this to be difficult an abridged three page of the ‘ABC of the Organisation’ should be given to all students who recently join. We should also have a healthy supply of membership forms, as these stalls are also instruments of recruitment. In addition, the branch may distribute other educational material on issues like HIV/Aids, international solidarity etc. These stalls must be up throughout the registration period and until the end of orientation week.
6.3. The Welcoming Letter and 2018 BEC Calendar
➢ The names of SASCO and its leadership in the branch and beyond should be names that all first year students know in the institution before knowing all other relevant names. In 2015 we said we wanted students to make SASCO their best friend on campus, in 2016 we said we making SASCO a home for all on campus; in ; this year we are declaring it as the year for free quality education. This is why each branch should be physically assisting prospective students on a day to day basis. We also need to have a welcoming letter and a year calendar showing the BEC of the organisation and all its deployees that are in the SRC. This letter seeks to welcome both new and returning students and in the process introduce SASCO. In an A5 size or pamphlet, whichever is effective, the branch should communicate the central messages of the campaign, the contact information of SASCO, what we stand for and wishing the students well in their studies. Also remind them of their rights and obligations. This requires skillful, creative and powerful writing. These should be in plain and simple language easy to be understood by a student especially a first year student. The 2018 BEC calendar should be well designed and very presentable so that students can possibly have it year long.
➢ This year will be one of the most challenging years for the organization as it will be the test of strength for SASCO. The organizational renewal and the organizational report documents outlined some of the key challenges confronting our organization. The emergence of new organizations on campuses threatens our hegemony, we must live like a campaigning organization all our days.
6.4. SASCO T-Shirt Day
➢ On these days all members of SASCO must be seen proudly wearing any T-shirt that reflects our logo. Where budget permits, more T-shirts must be printed. We should also work with MDM structures in our localities in order to get assistance for the production of these t-shirts. Our SRC should also assist the branch with the production of t-shirts in whatever way possible. The slogan of wash and wear that we use during SRC elections should be utilized even during this time. In other words our activists should always be wearing SASCO t-shirts and when these get dirty they should wash them at night, dry them and wear them again in the morning. Ample time will present itself during the year for us to wear the clothes that our families bought for us during the summer holidays.
6.5. Education Alliance and Tactical Alliances
➢ All provinces and branches should be active in the Education Alliance with the ANC YL, COSAS, YCL, NASGB, NEHAWU and SADTU. We should try to form alliance with student societies, even those that did not support us in SRC elections in order to win them over to our side. Other tactical alliances would be formed with everyone else (this may include the opposition) and should only be on short term basis and around specific issues. We should ensure that at all times we lead and give direction to these tactical alliances.
6.6. Branch and Mass Meetings
➢ Meetings should be called frequently to update membership on burning issues and to also seek fresh mandates in relations to the various negotiations that will be ensuing with management. This is the actual application of the principle of mandate and accountability earlier referred to in these guidelines. Mass meetings should be called where applicable and necessary, the situation will vary from campus to campus. During registration, mass meetings mostly lead to a strike and it is important that before there is such a meeting the organization calls its own BGM to properly brief its members so that when any action is taken, it is fully supported by the rank and file. This should also apply during times where the leadership has issued an order for a general student strike for funding and access. It should be noted that the recent fees must fall movement has caught us following in most instances, as the NGC has observed, the organization should be at the forefront of any of these campaigns.
6.7. Protest action
➢ Our National Congress advised that this period is most suited for us to fight for implementation of Free Education. This is mainly because majority of students during this time see the need for this as they are yet to be registered as well. The support that was demonstrated in 2016 when the call was made by the leadership to protest for access is full proof of this. The 2017 National Congress observed a variety of problems pregnant in the system and there appeared to be an indication that many of the challenges that we faced last year might still be in existence this year. A clear instruction was made to the leadership to develop a plan for the phasing in of free education.
➢ A caution was nonetheless made that taking to the streets must always be exercised as a measure of last resort and throughout our roundtable negotiations we must update students so that they can clearly understand the reason for a protest action. Protest actions are not an end in themselves but a means to an end. They are political instruments available in our popular mass campaigns and struggles to achieve indentified political objective. We do not strike for pleasure and showcasing our following but to achieve deliverables to our constituency. As the NGC observed, our militancy is a guided one.
➢ Campuses are advised to raise their grievances and protests nonetheless and not wait for the national leadership to issue an instruction before they do so. Where problems exists and comrades believe that these are impossible to resolve, we advise our comrades to protest. These can take various forms. Picketing, demonstration, letter writing, signature campaigns, sit-ins (and not a hostage) etc are part and parcel of our tactics. All these require maximum political unity and discipline of our cadres at the leadership level. We must not be involved in incidents that will tarnish our image and reverse the possible gains to be derived out of protest actions. At no stage must leadership abdicate their responsibility to provide leadership in these circumstances. We must avoid infiltration by the enemy and other forces that would take advantage of the tense and volatile situation to pursue their narrow hooliganism and criminal objectives using SASCO. In every protest we must protect political objectives, the students and the name of the organisation. Institutional vandalism is a punishable offence in the organisation for these institutions belong to us not management.
NB: We know that the organisation faces a lot of challenges as it relates to resources but resource constraints should not be a cover up for the poor implementation of the campaign.
➢ We should fight with all we have to ensure that students of this land access the system without any hindrances. It is us who must also transfer our knowledge of the brutal nature of the current education system to them so that they are turned into conscious student activists as time proceeds. Under the current conditions, it is not easy for students to so mobilize themselves and consciountise themselves about their conditions to the extent that they are able to take leadership of their struggles. We must work to
make our South African Students Congress (SASCO) proud of what it has achieved ever since its existence and also work to ensure that it continues to be a fighting weapon at the disposal of students.
➢ We dare not rest but build our SASCO for many battles ahead. We must soldier on united as we celebrate 26 years of students’ struggles towards free education this year. We have properly identified the target and now let us continue to attack, for doubt at this moment is a sign of fear and a signal for retreat. Struggle is what we must be engaged in for hope is an indulgence the working class youth does not have time for. To refrain from fighting now, to indulge in talks in boardrooms is to doom the revolutionary struggle for free education and socialism for failure. This organisation has taught us to be builders of a future classless society and it is thus important for us to forever declare:
Issued by the NEC of SASCO
For any clarities contact;
Avela Mjajubana (President)
078 253 8406
Lwando Majiza (Secretary General)
073 763 9099
Download the official 2018 RTL guideline here: