11 June 2012
The South African Students Congress (SASCO) held a successful National Working Committee on 9 June at Booysens Hotel, Johannesburg. The NWC paid tribute to Prof. Phillip Tobias who passed away last week and laid to rest on Sunday, 10 June. Prof. Tobias was a former president of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS), a committed anti-apartheid activist and a world renowned palaeoanthropology legend. NUSAS merged with the South African National Students Congress (SANSCO) in 1991 to form SASCO. The NWC took stock of the contemporary issues in society, and the higher education and further training. Among the key issues discussed include:
Free Education Campaign
The SASCO national free education march on the 4th May 2012 was a resounding success. This bears testimony to the reality that SASCO remains organisationally and politically intact. Our presence was felt in all government departments where we submitted the memorandum. We are encouraged that some in the movement are seemingly slowly accepting that our free education campaign is not a Trojan horse strategy to fight the Minister as the general secretary of the SACP. We hope that as we intensify our mass action in the next semester this rare conspiracy-free atmosphere will prevail. We call upon comrades in the movement to refrain from attacking genuine students' struggles and warn those who deliberately incite war with our organisation that they will be met pound for pound!
Congratulations to NUM and NUMSA on successful national congresses
SASCO congratulates NUM and NUMSA for holding successful national congresses in the past two weeks. The NWC congratulated the newly elected leadership of NUM and NUMSA and wished them all the best in their term of office. We remain inspired by the broader feeling within the trade union movement that despite certain tactical differences, the unity of the labour movement is important if we are serious about defending the workers' hard worn gains and overthrowing the undemocratic capitalist mode of production. The purported disagreements between these unions should remain a figment of imagination for liberal media.
On counter-hegemonic struggles
The NWC noted with dismay the growing bourgeoisie ideological control over all spheres in society. Education, like other societal spheres, continues to be abused by the bourgeoisies to legitimise and perpetuate class domination. The curriculum in institutions of higher learning and further training remain untransformed and does not adequately respond to our country's socio-economic challenges. As SASCO, we are perturbed at the rapid mushrooming of Business Schools, particularly in our universities. On the other hand, there is a persistent under funding and undermining of socially useful disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. This must come to an end!
SASCO will continue to engage in counter hegemonic struggles against the ruling class, which remains white monopoly capital with all its remnants. SASCO reaffirms its commitment to engage in counter hegemonic struggles against the capitalist class and its influence in society. The organization will heighten its struggle for curriculum transformation in education. We will do all and sundry to influence the public discourse in this regard and we encourage SASCO members who are post-graduate students to do research on matters that will assist the social and economic life of the majority of our people as we thrive for an egalitarian social order.
On the grandstanding by the Minister of Higher Education and Further Training
The NWC took a serious dim-view on shallow and feeble notion by the Minister of Higher and Training that the problem with corruption in on our campuses fundamentally lays with the direct representation of student leadership in tender committees. SASCO regards this as a highest form of dishonesty and cowardice because the Minister knows very well that the senior bureaucrats and managers of our universities and colleges are the most corrupt people. At times, they even collaborate to commit corruption with some Ministerial appointees on the councils of our universities and colleges. The NWC takes a dim-view on the shallow idea that the rampant problem of corruption on our campuses can simply be solved by removing student leaders in tender committees.
Whereas we strongly agree that students should not sit in tender committees, we have a serious problem with those who regard this simply as an end in itself. The fight against corruption must not be one sided and must be systemic. As a matter of urgency we call on the ministry to introduce a legislation regulating privatization and outsourcing of services in tertiary institutions. We will continue to implement our 17th national congress resolution that all our deployees in student governance must be withdrawn from tender committees. In the same spirit, we will continue to call for the abolishment of tendering and building of internal capacities of our universities and colleges to directly provide the currently outsourced services.
On the Spear
We note with utter disgust and dismay the manner in which the President of the African National Congress and the Republic was wrongly portrayed in a drawing by some Brett Murray who seeks cheap publicity. We take a seriously dim-view on the City Press's publishing of the image of this portrait and, despite the apology and the removal of the picture on the website, we believe that the publishing of this picture is part of Ferial Haffajee's pathological hatred to the President of the ANC and the Republic. We call upon all South Africans to delete the image either from their Facebook, twitter and or even desktop so that we see a proper closure on this matter. As SASCO, we will continue to defend the ANC against liberal artists like Murray and will defend our symbols and logos.
Reactionary Vice-Chancellors and the ICC must run
The NWC agreed that we need to build our organization to respond to all its challenges including the reactionary tactics that are exercised by reactionary people like Jansen, Badat, Nongxa, Mokgalong, Makgoba and Swartz and many other Vice chancellors who became Vice Chancellors by chance. We call for the heads of these reactionary Vice Chancellors and we will feast on top of them towards free education. We do not believe that the former president of Liberia Charles Tailor received a fair trial at the capitalist created and appointed International Criminal Court. We call upon African Union must to take charge of the continent and should not allow the despotic imperial powers to run our continent.
Ngoako Selamolela, SASCO President, 071 875 2224
Themba Masondo, SASCO Secretary General, 079 199 3421