The South African Students’ Congress held its biennial national congress from the 4th to the 8th of December 2017 at the University of Johannesburg. The national congress was convened under the theme “2017, the year of Oliver Tambo, the year for free quality education. Dismantling the doors of learning and culture”
The National Congress was attended by 1500 delegates representing more than 60 thousand affiliated members, coming from branches from across the 26 Universities and 50 government accredited TVET institutions. The 20th National Congress was the biggest South African students’ gathering affirming the hegemony of SASCO and SASCO’s position as the Centre of Students’ struggles. This was an affirmation of SASCO as the only credible students’ organization with a proven track record of championing students’ interests.
The instructive national congress theme was an inspiration to delegates to emulate the ethos and ideals for which our struggle stalwart, O.R Tambo lived for. It was a clarion call to all our members and supporters that the time for lip service to the provision of free education has passed our NGC had instructed us to fight for free education. Our rallying call is that we must dismantle the doors of learning and culture.
Our alliance partners the YCL SA, COSAS and the ANCYL graced our congress. The NYDA was also present. The national congress was attended and observed by our regional friends ZINASU and NANSO. SASU was also present at the national congress.
The national congress had time limitations due to some logistical mishaps. Due to some of these limitations, not enough time was spent on policy discussions. Some of the delegates became frustrated and impatient with the national congress resulting in isolated acts of violent confrontation which were quickly arrested. We extend our message of goodwill to those who may have unfortunately suffered injuries.
Despite these, the national congress proceeded in peace and harmony. The national congress was unequivocal in its acclamation of the call for the TVET sector to rise. This clarion call appreciates that the sector still lags far behind in terms of transformation and progressive policy formation. We have a responsibility of making the TVET sector institutions of choice with proper infrastructure and academic content.
The struggle for free education must be heightened for implementation in the next academic year. The main mandate for the new leadership is to usher the current generation of students into free education, a synchronized higher education and the renewal of our organization for battles which lie ahead.
In a true spirit of unity, the national congress elected the 20th National Executive Committee. The NEC was elected unopposed as supported by delegates from all the 9 provinces.
The following leadership was elected:
President: Avela Mjajubana
Deputy President: Lerato Nokuthaba Ndlovu
Secretary-General: Lwando Majiza
Deputy Secretary-General: Lwando Mangqishi
Treasurer-General: Tshepho Mohlomi
Thirteen NEC additional members were elected into the leadership collective. The national congress as the highest decision-making body of the organization has entrusted this collective with the lives and the future of South African students at least for the next two years. This is a revolutionary duty which this leadership must dare not betray.
The national congress approved several special resolutions including the renaming of various structures and the immediate task of the organization. An emphasis was placed on the need for the centrality of political education and policy formulating platforms.
The 20th NEC will convene a TVET summit as a matter of urgency to address the challenges confronting the sector. This will be followed by a national lekgotla which will be looking at the state of our organization and the state of the higher education sector.
The national congress affirmed the position taken by the previous NEC that the committee established by the President to look into the sourcing of funds to fund free higher must do so expediently. The national congress instructed the leadership to comprehensively respond to the outcomes of the Judge Heher Commission. The response of the organization must be nothing less than to ensure the first phase of the implementation of free education. The congress was unanimous in its rejection of the commission’s report.
The instruction is clear, that from 2018 we are expected to dismantle the doors of learning in order to ensure access to higher education. The leadership will issue a directive as to the tactics to be employed, as early as the 2018 academic calendar commences.
We wish to extend gratitude to all the sponsors who made the national congress a success and a possibility. We especially thank the 19th NEC under the command of President Thabo Moloja and Secretary General Tembani Makata for delivering a united congress leaving behind a healthy, stronger and united organization. We are happy that all delegates have traveled home safely and are spending the festive season with their families. We thank them for their discipline and restraint.
SASCO congratulates all those who have graduated and will be joining the workplace. To those coming back to the sector, SASCO volunteers will be on all campuses from the 4th of January 2018 for the annual SASCO right to learn campaign; ready to sacrifice, serve and suffer for all students without an expectation of any material gain or personal gratification.
We wish you a joyous, safe and relaxed festive season.
Issued by the NEC
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