South African Students Congress

Joint press ptatement of the Progressive Youth Alliance

31 August 2012

The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) composed of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), Young Communist League of South Africa (YCLSA), South African Students Congress (SASCO) and Congress of the South African Students (COSAS) met at the African National Congress Headquarters, Luthuli House on Monday, 27th August 2012 to chart a joint political programme to deal with the challenges facing the youth of South Africa and the responses thereof as part of our revolutionary responsibilities.

We recognize that we are aligned not by personalities but our commitment and character in revolution. We are approaching the same destination despite our differences on what the destination should ultimately shape out to be. Our differences should never be allowed to overshadow or derail this relationship we share, one that has been forged in the trenches we have shared and will continue to share until we achieve a united, non racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

On Youth Unemployment

The meeting noted that the challenges facing our people particularly the youth are historical and structural in nature and reflect the effects of colonial-apartheid development that penetrate deeply into our society. Youth Unemployment is not particular to South Africa; however we recognize that we have to ensure that we make interventions in the short and medium term whilst charting a long term strategy to deal with this ticking time bomb urgently.

The meeting resolved that a programme must be developed that will speak to the ideological characterization and nature of the problem of youth unemployment as desk top approaches will never clearly deal with the real challenges we face; and must further look into the types of interventions to be made on youth unemployment and this to be adopted at the next PYA Summit. A Task Team including representatives of all PYA components have been appointed that will look into the matter and prepare its submissions to the Secretariat before the PYA Summit.

On Youth Development

We recognise that youth development remains at its lowest and we need to ensure that it is placed at the centre of all developmental objectives of our nation. We looked into the role of the institutions of youth development, namely the South African Youth Council (SAYC) and the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) and whether they are still fulfilling their mandates or whether they have the necessary capacity to deliver on their mandates.

SAYC remains an important umbrella body of civil society youth and has the capacity to drive programmes of advocating and lobbying for youth development as an apolitical institution representing all youth formations. However SAYC has been plagued by historical challenges that may have weakened its capacity to deliver on its mandate and the PYA has at times due to its components differences neglected its role and this has to change.

The NYDA has been plagued by a lot of controversies and bad publicity whether founded or unfounded; its role as the government agency responsible for youth development has at times been weakened by inadequate funding disturbing its programmes and in certain instances ,weaknesses in the appointments to some provincial advisory boards. We therefore resolved that we need the President to appoint a collective board with capacity and youth development orientation being a priority.

We shared concerns on the Integrated Youth Development Strategy location and implementation as this has further added to the ineffectiveness of the NYDA. It is important that the strategy is accepted as the primary driver of the National Youth Policy implementation and that so long as this fact is neglected we lose an opportunity to make the necessary interventions in the lives of the youth of South Africa. The PYA Summit will place youth development at the centre and ensure that we revive the youth development fraternity to combat the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment; of which the youth are the hard hit.

On the SRC Elections and Higher education

In the recent past there has been an emergence of contestations in campuses by our structures and in many instances it has affected our ability to lead students' struggles and to assert hegemony as the PYA. This norm that has been on an increase need to be curbed and we agreed on a joint programme to intervene in the campuses that are facing such challenges and to develop mechanisms to ensure that in future this does not happen.

We are aligned due to our common programme and there is no need for further contestations by our structures. The PYA will develop a joint programme that will ensure even lower structures understand the character and nature of the PYA; this will ensure the constant monitoring and evaluation of SRCs, development of common manifesto and organising joint campaigns where our structures exist. We further resolved that in institutions of higher learning and further training, components of the PYA shall actively encourage unity and discourage any contestations amongst their structures with SASCO playing a leading role.

The PYA will rally all youth including young academics and workers behind the banner of the mass democratic movement.

On the Support to Wits Workers

The national and branch leadership of the PYA met with the leadership of NEHAWU at Wits University for a briefing and an update on the negotiations and the way forward on the dispute that has been lodged by NEHAWU and the worker alliance. We noted that the University is still racist in its approach towards the workers and their demands and it has an exploitative and intransigent approach to workers and the university community at large.

The university's attitude to force implementation of unilateral decisions post negotiations over the years has to stop and be exposed; workers basic demands which include child care facilities, adequate parking, increased wages and shift allowance have to be addressed if there is to be progress.

The PYA will support any decision the consultative process of the unions will take to ensure workers demands are met and that includes making sure the university comes to a standstill. We will ensure the issues of workers are escalated to Council as management has proved itself inadequate to addressing worker demands and taking interests of the Wits community at heart. It is unfortunate that the same management which declares lack of funds afford to pay themselves nonsensical millions whilst the heartbeat of the university still gets meagre peanuts in the face of increased costs of living.

We further received a briefing from the Wits Workers Solidarity Committee which represents interests of the outsourced workers at Wits University. The issue of Royal Mnandi exploiting workers on campus and the institution turning a blind eye to such exposes its disrespect for human rights; the university further exploits this workers through the use of separate entrances and by denying them rights of movement and gathering in the university. We will await the decision of the CCMA on the matter and respond post such on this matter.

We also support the striking students at the Tshwane University of Technology who have been on strike since the violation of their rights by the university which also brutally unleashed violence against students instead of finding amicable solutions to the crisis at hand.

On the PYA Summit

The PYA Secretariat will meet and deal with the planning of an urgent PYA Summit that will look into our relations focusing on the joint political programme we need to develop focusing particularly on issues of youth unemployment, youth development and education.

Issued by the Progressive Youth Alliance

Mangaliso Stalin Khonza
YCLSA National Spokesperson
083 617 5546

Khusela Sangoni-Khawe
ANCYL National Spokesperson
079 510 5408

Themba Masondo
SASCO Secretary-General
079 199 3421

Tshiamo Tsotetsi
COSAS Secretary-General
074 472 1832