South African Students Congress

Statement of the Progressive Youth Alliance

20 December 2013

On a Press Conference held at Chief Albert Luthuli House; addressed by Mzwandile Masina (ANCYL), Buti Manamela (YCLSA), Collen Malatji (COSAS) and Ntuthuko Makhombothi (SASCO)

On Nelson Mandela

1. The Progressive Youth Alliance want to take this opportunity to thank all South Africans, especially youth, who came out in their numbers for the hundreds of memorial services and for the funeral of Isithwalandwe/Seaparankwe and former President of the ANC, Tata Nelson Mandela.

2. We will always be inspired by the leadership of Tata Nelson Mandela and his generation in their fight against apartheid and for a democratic South Africa. Tata Nelson Mandela led the ANC collective that laid the basis for our freedom through the negotiations process.

3. We are extremely disappointed by attempts to isolate Tata Mandela from the ANC by people who still remains opposed to what he stood for, the building of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic South Africa, and for the liberation of blacks in general and Africans in particular from political and economic bondage. The ANC-led alliance still remains true and consistent to this main goal of the National Democratic Revolution.

4. In Tata Mandela, and his generation of leadership, the ANC led our people to express their demands through the Freedom Charter, the RDP Base Document and "Ready to Govern". We believe that major successes achieved over the last 20 years have been as a result of the efforts of Tata Mandela and ANC government, and that South Africa is a different country precisely because of their leadership.

5. We have also noted attempts to suggest that Tata Mandela and the ANC-led alliance have sold out our people in the negotiations process. This is malicious and consistent with the propaganda that was spread by those who wanted the early-90`s political violence to continue, and were not interested in the peaceful resolution. We are thankful to the efforts of the leadership at the time and, in particular, the leadership of Tata Mandela.

6. We congratulate the media for the role they played in covering the events and the manner in which they informed, especially youth, about the history of this country and the life of Tata Mandela. We are certain that through this, history will never repeat itself and in the words of Tata Mandela, "never will our nation remain the skunk of the world"

7. We hope that the family remains strong at this time, and agree that they are owed an apology by those who orchestrated the booing of the President at the stadium on the day of the memorial.

On Education

8. We have noted the fact that councils of universities and colleges have exponentially increased fees whilst student are on holiday hoping that there will be no contestation of this when the institutions open. We want to warn college and university managers that we are aware of this trick and we are going to fight it head on. SASCO and all PYA organs will be on all campuses ensuring that we fight any such attempts. We call for a 0 percent fee increment across all institutions.

9. We are wishing all the best for matriculants who are waiting for the release of their final results. We call upon the department of education to listen to the voice of young people who are not supporting the publication of matric results, we believe that matric result is a private matter between the learner and the school.

Numsa leaders shall fail to destroy the ANC and the alliance

10. The PYA has noted with utter disgust the utterances and attacks by the Numsa`s leaders, directed at the ANC, SACP and Cosatu (to which Numsa is supposedly affiliated). For a while now Numsa`s leaders have rampantly been attacking the ANC, SACP and the alliance at every turn.

11. The Numsa special national congress that is underway in Boksburg seems to have been organised among others to drive these attacks to their zenith, with all sorts of childish innuendos.

12. The PYA can no longer remain silent, and will not fold our arms when the alliance, its programme and leadership is under attack from counter-revolutionary elements who enjoy listening to their hollow noises without any interruption. The attacks against the revolutionary alliance are coupled with and constitute a de-campaigning spree against the ANC given the forthcoming national general elections in 2014. This has the effect of aiding if not forming part of a counter-revolution and opposition.

13. Among the things that Numsa`s leaders have been saying are insinuations that the ANC, SACP and the alliance have abandoned the Freedom Charter, and that the 1994 democratic breakthrough, by extension our present democratic transition, is tantamount to a sell-out trade-off. The utterances and attacks have been coupled with threats, at times subtle and at times blatant, to leave the alliance, not to support the ANC in the forthcoming elections and beyond, and to consider forming a so-called independent workers party and a trade-union federation.

14. This must be exposed for what it is, nothing but a factional agenda of renegades - either in the making or in transit. The degree of self-importance by these elements is over-estimated if not over-exaggerated. The fact is, the ANC will win the 2014 elections! As the PYA we will go all out to achieve this outcome.

15. As the PYA we wish to state in no uncertain terms that neither our national democratic revolution nor the Freedom Charter which stipulates the basic goals of the revolution is an ultra-left or workerist project. The national democratic revolution laid the foundation for our present democratic transition by defeating the system of apartheid colonialism in 1994. Contrary to what Numsa`s leadership wants our people to believe, the defeat of apartheid colonialism which we are yet to completely obliterate and the ushering in of our democratic transition have resulted in huge advances and improvements in the lives of our people, many of whom are the workers and the poor.

16. The very human and labour rights that workers enjoy, including the right not to be discriminated on the basis of race and gender, both in the community and at work in contrast to what happened under apartheid colonialism, are the direct fruit of our national democratic revolution. These were fought for by our revolutionary alliance long before those who attack it were born and long before some of the existing organisations were established.

17. Today South Africa is a much better place than it was in the pre-1994 period, because of our revolutionary alliance. For Numsa`s leadership to consistently suggest the opposite is absurd, to say the least. The very rights they have to express their views openly and publicly is the direct fruit of our liberation struggle. Since 1994, 19 years after our revolutionary alliance defeated apartheid colonialism, millions of our people, Africans in particular and Blacks in general, the workers and the poor, including Numsa members, who were prohibited to vote, who did not have access to electricity, housing, clean water and sanitation, education in particular but not exclusively further and higher education, social security, to mention but a few, now enjoy the right to vote, and have access to these advances!

18. Our liberation alliance never declared the revolution over. Neither have the primary opponents of our revolution closed shop. In the words of Tata Mandela, when closing the ANC Conference in 1997, "The struggle continues". There is much more that needs to be done, but very few revolutions on earth match the achievements of ours in the 19 years since our democratic breakthrough.

We remain resolute in our support for President Jacob Zuma

19. As the PYA we also note the opportunistic call by Numsa leaders for President Jacob Zuma to resign. This is nothing but the result of the failure of their now publicly known un-mandated lobby to secure the position of Deputy President for Zwelinzima Vavi in the last ANC National Conference, held in Mangaung, 2012. It is now clearer why they wanted that position, they most probably sought to secure it so they could thereafter manoeuvre to remove our President and take over ANC and government leadership.

20. It is wrong in the extreme for Numsa leaders to use a Public Protector`s report that is yet to be released, and therefore whose contents are not publicly known, to find the President guilty and call upon him to resign. In this the Numsa leadership is not alone, it is marching together with right-wing elements of all sort.

21. As the PYA we rejected this malicious and treacherous forked tongue agenda and condemn with the contempt it deserves. When this is contrasted to their position on the suspended Cosatu General Secretary the hypocrisy of Numsa leadership is exposed for all to see at the place in the sun.

22. We welcome the release of the government report on Nkandla, its findings and recommendations. However we want to express our displeasure on the inability of government to be clearer of the sanctions to be meted against those who sought to use and abuse the name of the President of the ANC during the security upgrade in his homestead. As PYA, we are calling for government to press criminal charges against former Minster Geoff Doidge, his former Deputy Minister Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu to be dismissed with immediate effect for her role in the Nkandla Prestige Project A. We also call for the pressing of criminal charges and recouping of government money from these unscrupulous contractors. Lastly, we demand that government clarifies the public what is going to happen to the government precinct (costing R107 million of the R206 million) adjacent to the homestead of the President of the ANC after he retires as the head of state.

Issued by the PYA

Interviews:
Mzwandile Masina (ANCYL National Convener) - 076 634 1755
Buti Manamela (YCLSA National Secretary) - 082 440 1379
Ntuthuko Makhombothi (SASCO President) - 082 312 5840
Collin Malatji (COSAS President ) - 071 446 2087

Other enquiries:
Bandile Masuku - ANCYL National Spokesperson - 071 574 4513