The South African Students Congress held a special NEC meeting, convened according to section 14 of the constitution. The special NEC was called with the explicit intentions of discussing the work of the NWC. This was as a result of numerous complaints, concerns and grievances from NWC, NEC members and members of SASCO who expressed, in writing, their concerns to the President and Secretary General about the state of the organization, the state of Eastern Cape and parallelism thereof.
The meeting sat within a context of emerging protest action around the country, predominantly amidst historically disadvantaged institutions, raising genuine issues. The silence of the newly appointed Minister is a cause for concern, seemingly suggesting a lacklustre appetite to student issues in the sector. The special NEC has resolved to dedicate a day to mass action across the country to address the following issues;
• Call for curriculum review summit in TVET’s and Universities
• TVET Funding
• Debt Clearance
• Student Accommodation
• In-Service Training for TVET students
• The scrapping of work experience requirement
• Graduate Unemployment
• VAT increase
• Absorption of interns and contract workers
The Special NEC Meeting received an opening address from the President which inter alia reflected on the life of the organization since the election of 20th NEC. The NEC satisfied itself about the unity of the organization and its ability to produce programs of the organization that are student oriented. The organization has held a successful right to learn campaign rally held at WSU, Umtata campus. This program characterized an existing organization built on principle of unity and cohesion. It was in this program where we emphasized the need to renew, modernize and reposition SASCO to its rightful dispensation in the society.
The Special NEC has noted with great concern the ideological decay and lack of organizational discipline within our ranks which erode the culture of debate and the intellectual capacity of the skills reservoir of the mass democratic movement. For time immemorial, SASCO has been afforded the respect it deserves in the mass democratic movement due to its ability to critically analyze the current status quo with sound ideological perspectives. Therefore the Special NEC resolved to work closely with the progressive trade union movement, the vanguard Party and convocants, to roll out a clear political education program. This program must be aimed at aiding the ailing current state of the organization.
The Special NEC also expressed its great dissatisfaction with the VAT increase to cover the cost of the implementation of fee-free education. It remains the considered view of the NEC that the money to fund fee-free education should be sourced from the private sector. SASCO in its contribution to the commission on the feasibility of free education has expressly stated where this funding for free education must be sourced. This decision is a direct attack on the poor and will further deepen the inequalities in our society. It is the expressed view of SASCO that the implicit effects of the increase, couched behind a narrative of cost sharing, in relation to it perpetuating the stratifications of the second economy have not adequately been considered at the adverse cost of the poor and working class.
The special NEC having robustly and critically engaged the contextual basis of the issues raised by comrades and various structures of the organization resolved to suspend the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General pending a National Disciplinary Committee sitting. The decision to suspend the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General was not taken lightly and was done in a manner that seeks to ensure absolute fairness and give the necessary and meticulous attention to the allegations that have been levelled against the Secretary-General and the complicity of the Deputy Secretary-General. The decision to suspend the Secretary General and Deputy Secretary General was considered within the constitutional ambits and was seen as central in ensuring that adequate consideration is given to the serious allegations that have been brought forward to the NEC that range from acting outside the mandate of the NEC and NWC, to sowing divisions in the organizations and hampering the ability for the organization to carry out its work.
We call for all comrades in the organization to unite and focus on their varied core responsibilities in ensuring we strengthen the fighting capacity of the organization. The road ahead is a cumbersome one- it is lined with misinformation, wedge drivers and agent provocateurs. Our deep-held convictions to see the emancipation and transformation of the sector should not falter. Our fighting spirit should not be dampened. Never allow anything to defocus you from the bigger picture- our responsibility is greater than all of us individually. Our fighting capacity is at its optimal when we are united.
Unite! Unite! Unite!
The NEC has also taken a decision to make Cde. Simphiwe Joja the acting Secretary General pending the resolution of the matter before the NDC.
We have tasked NEC member to go back to provinces and give a more comprehensive account of the outcomes of our meeting.
With unity and vision, we can achieve our noble goal.
Cell: 071 875 2224
Acting Secretary General
Cell: 071 879 3258
Acting Secretary General
South African Student Congress