18 March 2011
The South African Students' Congress (SASCO) want to thank the thousands of students that came out in their numbers braving the sun to participate in our Free Education march to the Department of Higher Education and Training in Pretoria today, Friday 18 March 2011. This march was a great success and it confirms that the problems that beset our Higher Education system continue to concern the great majority of young people in our society who are now content not to sit down and do nothing.
Despite the fact that we notified the Department of Higher Education and Training on time, there was no-one to receive our Memorandum of Demands and we had to scrap for anybody we could find to accept this important memorandum. Rather than throw tantrums, we chose to constructively engage the Department of Higher Education and Training for its conspicuous absence.
We are extremely angered and perturbed by the comments attributed to the Minister of Higher Education and Training – Dr Blade Nzimande – at TUT who decided to rubbish the leadership of the student movement for choosing to march rather than continue the already endless and fruitless engagements with him. The paranoia with which the Minister of Higher Education and Training deals with issues in the Higher Education landscape creates a climate of suspicion and mutual distrust rather than measured engagement.
The manner in which the Minister of Higher Education and Training was received by students at the TUT is indicative of the anger and frustration students feel towards the Ministry. Rather than sit in the corner and sulk, any serious revolutionary would reflect on the mistakes he is making and correct them. On our side, we are willing to engage the Minister of Higher Education and Training but he must not think he has the right to lecture us on how we should engage on our campaigns.
We do not need his permission to engage in working class and student struggles. The snail's pace at which the Department pursues the struggle for the transformation of higher education and lack of implementation of free education is the worst form of anti-communism and a crime against the sons and daughters of the working class and is a betrayal to the struggle.
Lazola Ndamase, Secretary General - 082 679 8718