13 June 2012
The South African Students Congress (SASCO) notes the cabinet reshuffle announced yesterday by the President of the Republic. We note in particular the changes effected to the ministry of higher education and training. We also note that the debacle surrounding the former national commissioner General Bheki Cele has finally been put to rest. Whilst we have no intention to contest the appointment of the new national commissioner; it should be acknowledged that the SAPS made significant inroads in combating crime under the leadership of Cele. We have high expectations from the new national commissioner and wish her all the best in this regard.
Given our location in education and higher education in particular we feel obliged to express our discomfort with the appointment of Mduduzi Manana as deputy minister of Higher Education and Training. SASCO is utterly dismayed, taken aback, angry, flabbergasted, disappointed and annoyed at the appointment of Mr. Mdu Manana (who happens to be our colleague in the PYA as a leader of the ANCYL) as the deputy minister of higher education and training. We do not have any reason to believe that Mr. Manana is up to the task of being a deputy minister of such a complex and strategic department. We do not have a problem with Mr. Manana being a deputy minister, but not of higher education and training.
The appointment of Mr. Manana demonstrates that the ANC led government does not take education seriously. How on earth can our ANC led government appoint such a person with no track record on issues related to education, let alone higher education and further training in particular? We do not believe that Mr. Manana will help us in dealing with the plethora challenges in the higher education and further training sector. With all due respect to the erroneously appointed deputy minister, we are not convinced that Mr. Manana has the capacity to diligently deliver in this department.
The SASCO national leadership will seek an urgent meeting with the ANC secretary general, cde Gwede Mantashe, to express our deep discontent and plead with him to assist us set up a meeting with the president of the ANC and the Republic. We are confident that we will convince President Jacob Zuma that the appointment of Mr. Manana is not only mistaken but will go a long way in frustrating the government’s efforts in dealing with the many terminal and complex challenges in the post-schooling sector. We will convey our conviction that Mr. Manana will definitely be a liability in our efforts to transform higher education and further training.
Ngoako Selamolela, SASCO President, 071 875 2224
Themba Masondo, SASCO Secretary General, 079 199 3421