19 April 2011
The South African Students Congress (SASCO) in Gauteng held a successful Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) meeting on the 17th of April at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. The PEC extensively deliberated on key socio-economic and political issues facing our country:
SASCO's Free Education Campaign
SASCO's free education campaign remains very much intact and alive. We commend the more than 3000 students from our branches across the province who attended the SASCO national Free Education march to the Department of Higher Education and Training on the 18th of March 2011. We call upon the Ministry of Higher Education to urgently open a meaningful and high level dialogue with SASCO on its proposal for a progressive realisation of free education.
SASCO demands a coherent plan, with clear time frames, that outlines how the goal of free quality education is to be progressively realised. We hope that this will mark the beginning of an end to the rhetorical and fuzzy commitment to free higher education by the Ministry of Higher Education. SASCO will continue to mobilise the society at large behind our campaign for free quality higher education. We will never succumb to any political intimidation or conspiracies from anyone, including those in the mass democratic movement.
Youth employment (or wage) subsidy
SASCO Gauteng notes a discussion document released in February this year by the national treasury, titled Confronting Youth Unemployment: policy options for South Africa. We find it misleading that the national treasury boldly justifies the youth wage subsidy in the name of 'providing young, inexperienced workers with decent work and experience of the labour market'. We also find it bizarre that the national treasury seem to have taken what would obviously be a responsibility of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA).
SASCO rejects the youth wage subsidy proposal in totality because it serves as a quick fix to the crisis of youth unemployment, seeks to expose young people to super exploitation by capitalists; displaces workers in standard employment relationships thus perpetuating the cycle of poverty. If truth be told, there is nothing decent work about the proposed youth wage subsidy. To us, the youth wage subsidy is but a massive and highly subsidised national youth internship programme that holds very little potential in resolving the crisis of youth unemployment.
On the court proceedings at the Equality Court
The conservative right-wing Afri-Forum will not succeed with its feeble legal attempt to destroy our historic revolutionary song, Dubul' Ibhunu. We strongly believe that our revolutionary song has got nothing to do with the cold-blooded murders of white farmers. There is no direct or indirect correlation between our song and the callous murders of white farmers.
If the right wing Afri-Forum is genuinely committed to addressing this problem, they must begin by ensuring that the toiling and abused workers on the farms are not treated as sub humans. SASCO members in the province will continue to attend the court proceeding underway at the Equality Court in Johannesburg. This is done in defence of our revolutionary heritage.
The discourse on Economic Freedom
SASCO Gauteng notes with interest the political discourse on Economic Freedom as championed by our ally the ANC Youth League. Economic freedom is defined as a revolutionary process geared towards the attainment of the Freedom Charter objectives. We believe that the notion of economic freedom is generally consistent with SASCO's perspective on transformation of society.
Nationalisation of mines and the commanding heights of the economy freedom shall happen in our life-time. Those opposed to this programme must learn to accept the inevitable. SASCO strongly believes that there cannot be any form of economic freedom without free quality higher education for all. Economic freedom without free quality higher education is fictitious.
Local government elections
SASCO calls upon all students in Gauteng to vote for the African National Congress (ANC) in the local government elections on 18 May 2011. The ANC remains the only political party in the contest that has the best interests of students at heart. Had it not been for the introduction of the NSFAS and many other progressive interventions by our ANC led government, many of us would not have accessed higher education. We will not be what we are today!
The vote for the ANC is a vote for our well-being as students. The ANC has made great strides, despite some challenges, in ensuring an enabling environment for academic excellence by students in many institutions of higher learning. All SASCO structures and members in the province will intensify our campaign to deliver the inevitable overwhelming victory to the ANC.
Toll gates and the militarisation of the SAPS
SASCO Gauteng joins our allies in rejecting the mistaken plan to impose the electronic toll gates in Gauteng. SASCO is disturbed that the South African Road Agency (SANRAL) did not bother to engage in any consultative process on these electronic toll gates. We call upon our ANC government to reverse this notorious and ill-thought project. SASCO Gauteng vows to mobilise all students in the province to join our allies in marches against this complete absurd assault of the working class and the poor.
SASCO Gauteng is concerned that the South African Police Service (SAPS) is increasingly becoming a law unto itself. The day light cold blooded murder of an innocent and unarmed protester in Ficksburg vindicates the unacceptable extent to which the SAPS has been militarised. SASCO calls for the immediate demilitarisation of the SAPS before our country turns into a military dictatorship whose only role is to quell any form of dissent (real or perceived) against government.
Themba Masondo, 079 199 3421
Lincoln Morgan, 071 603 9039