South African Students Congress

SASCO's Analysis and Endorsement of the ANC Elections Manifesto

20 January 2014

Our Strategic Perspective on Transformation employs us to measure our National Democratic Revolution against five key principles, non-racialism, non-sexism, democracy, equality and redress. Looking back at the past two decades of our democracy, no other conclusion is true than that which says; we have improved the quality of life for our people, but much more still needs to be done. That is precisely why South African students agree that the task of the next five years is to Take South Africa Forward. South African students are proud of the progress our country has made in the past twenty years as led by the African National Congress. We are unashamed to mention the following success and challenges of the past two decades;

Non-racialism

Twenty years ago the South Africa was a country where the white minority determined the quality of life that the black majority could live. The black majority in general and the African majority in particular could not determine their own future because of the racist policies of Apartheid and colonialism. South Africa was a country for white minority supremacy and privilege and a prison of poverty and deprivation for the black majority. None can forget the human slaughter that our people suffered under the racist Apartheid regime, the Shapville Massacre, the 1976 youth/student uprising, the killing of Steve Biko, Solomon Mahlangu, Onkgopotse Tiro, Ruth First, Rick Turner, and many others. We cannot forget the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, the banning and harassment of Winnie Mandela, Helen Josephs and Albertina Sisulu. We can never forget the ‘No Blacks' signs and the separate and unequal education systems that we inherited from Apartheid.

Today none can dare contest us when we say our country has made significant progress to build a non-racial South Africa. The ANC government has ensured that it builds a single education system for South Africa. The ANC government has ensured that it builds social cohesion by promoting reconciliation in a racially divided South Africa. Significant progress has been made to promote unity and appreciate the diversity of the South African society. South Africans today access public facilities together without the racial segregation that characterized Apartheid.

However as we move South Africa forward, we need to do more to build a non-racial South Africa. Poverty, unemployment and inequality in South Africa is still racialised, our economy is still dominated by the white minority. Even though a lot of progress has been made to transform the public service; senior positions in the private sector are still dominated by white males. Private education institutions and historically white universities act to preserve white supremacy. The judiciary of our country has been largely and instrument to preserve white minority privilege at the expense of the black majority. Certain sporting codes remain untransformed and reserved exclusively for whites for example Rugby and Cricket. Many blacks are still racially excluded from accessing property in certain white suburbs. Opposition parties such as the Democratic Alliance, Freedom Front Plus and ACDP remain regressive forces against our efforts to build a truly non-racial society in our country, they are organized to preserve the racial status core in our economy and society.  Parties such as the IFP as well are organized along ethnic and narrow lines. We still need to defeat racist right wing elements such as the Boerer Bond, Afriforum and all others that act in a calculated manner using our democratic institutions especially the judiciary to undermine our gains. Together as We Move South Africa Forward, we should build a non-racial South Africa that Nelson Mandela and many others fought for.

Non-sexism

South Africa has in the past twenty years of ANC rule seen a deliberate effort to emancipate women. Black women in South African were the most oppressed as they suffered triple oppression, as Blacks, as the working class and as women. It is this understanding that made the ANC government to establish dedicated institutions and mechanism to protect women's rights. Over the past 20 years more women have been able to access education and employment opportunities. Of cause certain fields such as Engineering are still dominated by whites and males. Our government has ensured that specific progammes of women empowerment in the economy are introduced. To show its commitment to women emancipation the ANC government has ensured a fair representation of women in government institutions including the executive.

Our country continues to experience high levels of women abuse and this has become a characteristic of most violent crimes in our country. Many old women and girl children are raped daily in our country. A lot still needs to be done to create prevention measures and to protect the dignity of our women. Men continue to dominate ownership and control of the economy; they continue to occupy senior positions in the public and private sectors, a lot more needs to be done to emancipate our women. Our ANC government should ensure that dedicated attention is given to the economic emancipation of rural women, who remain the most vulnerable in our society. Women remain the most vulnerable workers in our country, subjected to poor working conditions, causualization, and poor remuneration and abused by labor brokers.

Democracy

The year 1994 was the beginning of the democratic dispensation in our country, as South African students we are confident of the progress our country has made and sure of a future truly democratic society. In 1996 our country adopted a new constitution, the foundation of our countries future. What was most important for us, the future leaders of this country, was the bill of rights, a profound section that protects the rights our all our people. The ANC government has led our country in democratizing all institutions in our country. The ANC ensured that our country has an independent judiciary, media and independent state institutions to support our democracy. Our economy remains undemocratically controlled and we believe as the voice of South African students that the task of the next few years is to transform the ownership patterns of our economy. We still believe that more work needs to be done to ensure that all institutions in our society are democratically governed and controlled. We believe the ANC government should do more to promote the participation of our communities in the governance of our country. Government officials should consult more with the people not just as a matter of meeting constitutional obligations but as an effort to govern with the people.

Equality

It is public knowledge that our country remains amongst the most unequal societies in the world. It is also public knowledge that opposition elements in our country have been highlighting this fact in order to damn the African National Congress. Yet what they don't tell our people is that this inequality is as a result of the skewed ownership and control of our economy that they stand firm to entrench and defend. South African students call on the African National Congress to radically transform South Africa's economy in the interest of the peoples' camp. The students of South Africa do not believe that this transformation can be fully realized under the current economic underpinnings of the National Development Plan. We believe that the NDP represents a neo-liberal macroeconomic policy trajectory. We call on the ANC to entertain the call to review the NDPs economic chapters and for an egalitarian development trajectory to underpin our economic policies. We are confident that under the ANC leadership our country will defeat the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Redress and Transformation

We encourage the ANC to continue to strengthen our government policies to redress the imbalances of the past. South African students believe that contrary to the DA and its clique of opposition parties and ‘independent analysts' our country needs to promote employment equity, and Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment. We believe that a lot more needs to be done to ensure that these decisive policy interventions are also enjoyed by the working class and poor masses. The ANC led transformation discourse in our country must be supported by all our people and we recommit ourselves as students to struggle for transformation of higher education in particular and society in general.

Below we explain why we endorse the letter and spirit of the ANC Election Manifesto: Together We Move South Africa Forward!

The basis for our support of the ANC Elections Manifesto

On Education

As South African students we welcome the commitment made by the African National Congress to introduce Free Education for the working class and poor students. We remind South Africans that no other political party in South Africa has the will and ability to introduce Free Education. South African students will continue to struggle for free quality education; we are encouraged that our struggle is bearing fruits. We welcome the plans to expand opportunities in the post schooling education and training sector especially because our efforts to improve quality at basic education level have resulted in an additional burden for our post schooling institutions. We welcome the two new universities and 12 FET campuses but are concerned about the low intake that these have started with. We believe they will go a long way to meet the expansion plans of the sector over the next few years. South African students agree with the plans of the ANC to improve the quality of our FET colleges. We welcome the commitment to deal with the governance and administrative challenges our colleges face. We believe that the plans to increase experiential training for FET graduates in the public service and in State Owned Enterprises. We also welcome the commitment to place unemployed graduates and look forward to the introduction of community service for all graduates.  South African students welcome the commitment by the ANC to increase student accommodation in our institutions.

We welcome the efforts of our government's commitment to focus on foundation levels of our educations system, we believe improvements of the quality of our Early Childhood Development will yield much needed results for education in our country. The ANC government has committed to improving the mathematics pass rate; this is commendable and will improve the quality of our education system. South African students have always raised the importance of promoting our African languages; we look forward to the work to be done in the next five years for the compulsory introduction of our languages. We welcome the commitment to teacher development which will result in better quality teaching and learning. We are excited that our ANC government has heeded to the call of SASCO and COSAS of ‘One Student, One Tablet' this will elevate our education system to meet the technological developments world over. We support the efforts of the ANC government to create conducive learning environments for learners by promoting school safety and eradicating crime and violent incidents in schools, especially our township and rural schools.

On Building a Developmental State

We welcome the commitment of the peoples' movement to increase the role of the state in the economy and to decisively intervene in favor of the interest of the people, particularly the poor and workers. We support efforts to improve skills and capabilities in the state to deliver. South African students believe that the state should play a more strategic role to transform ownership patterns in the economy. It would be important for the state in the next five year to alter ownership in monopoly industries in the Minerals Energy and Finance Complex. Students believe that Development Finance Institutions and our State Owned Enterprises will be key to strengthening the role of the state in the economy. We hope that within the next five years the Post Bank will be fully licensed to improve financial inclusion and provide affordable financial services for our people. We hope that our government ignores the silence of the NDP on the Post Bank. DFIs must also support entrepreneurial ventures of the youth and co-operatives. SASCO welcomes efforts to improve the quality of our public service, this is important to improve the quality of services for our people.

On the Economy and Jobs

Regardless of the NDP we welcome the ANC's commitment to industrialization of our economy and believe that this should be the corner stone of employment creation in our country (Contrary to NDP). We also support the commitment to continue with the state led infrastructure programme and believe this will practically change spatial patterns; improve social infrastructure and rural development. In as much as we note the commitment to support and promotion of co-operatives we believe that this should find practical expression. SASCO is encouraged by ANC's commitment to buying at least 75% of its goods and services from South African producers. We have long called for the state to use its buying power to promote local industry and particularly to create markets for our co-operatives and SMMEs. Efforts to beneficiate our mineral wealth are welcomed, we believe that our infrastructure programs should support industrialization and change the raw material export dependency of our economy.

Students support the commitment of the ANC government to protecting the rights of workers and hope that suggestions of the NDP for the liberalization of our labour laws are ignored and defeated. Students believe that without the banning of labour brokers and if we implement the Youth Employment Incentive Scheme we will fail to protect our vulnerable workers. SASCO welcomes the commitment to introduce a minimum wage in our country we believe this is another victory of workers of South Africa as led by COSATU. We call on the ANC to create decent jobs for our people and nothing less.

On Rural Development and land reform

SASCO continues to call for land expropriation without compensation; however we are encouraged that at least the ANC government is moving beyond the regressive willing buyer willing seller principle. We believe that land should be used to build decent human settlements for our people and to promote food security for our country. We believe that job creation in the rural periphery is central to rural development and call for our government to unashamedly build new cities. We are of the considered view that our ANC government should direct industry to open plants in our rural areas to release the pressure on metropolitan areas and to take jobs to the people.  We believe contrary to the NDP that our agricultural sector can play an important role in job creation. We are concerned at the slow pace of transformation in agriculture and the exploitation of farm workers.

On Human Settlements and Basic Services

We are encouraged by the work the ANC has done of the past twenty years to build houses for our people. We welcome the commitment to providing one million houses to our people in the next five years. We believe the ANC should accelerate its efforts to deal with the backlogs in housing provisions for our people. SASCO believes that the question of sanitation is an exigent matter that should be prioritized in the next five years. We welcome the commitment to provide 1.6 million homes with electricity. We believe that in the next five years the ANC should improve public transport for our people. This is important to make the cost of transport for workers more affordable.

On Health and Social Security

We look forward to the rolling out of NHI in the next five years, we believe this will deal with the high cost of health care in South Africa and improve access to quality health care for all. The ANC should continue with efforts to provide free primary health care to our poor communities. Students are happy that we are making significant progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS and TB in our country.

On Fighting Crime and Corruption

Students are concerned about the levels of crime and corruption in our country both in the public and private sectors. The high levels of greed in our society are a direct product of the corrupt system of capitalism. We believe that all our people should expose and fight against crime and corruption. In as much as we acknowledge the introduction of a central tender board we believe that a more sustainable solution is the building of state capacity. We support the decision that public servants and representatives should not do business with the state directly or indirectly. Students are concerned about the brutality that has characterized our police in South Africa. Students have also been victims of police brutality and we believe this is an issue that needs dedicated focus. The ANC must work hard to uproot corrupt elements within its ranks

On a better Africa and a better world

South African students welcome the commitment of the ANC to Africa and her development. We support the ANC in its commitment to promote peace in our continent and believe that this is key for Africa's emancipation. The commitment to regional integration will promote inter-continental trade and continental economic partnerships. We welcome the commitment of the ANC to support the struggling peoples of the world. We believe that the ANC should support the people of Swaziland who continue to suffer under the dictatorship of King Mswati. We support the ANC's commitment to participate in global governance institutions and to continue to fight for their democratization and fairness.

Conclusion

South African students are passing a vote of confidence to the African National Congress, we are satisfied that the next five years under ANC rule will be a continuation of sustained nation building that has characterized the past twenty years. We are convinced that the ANC still represents the interests of the working class and poor. Students are clear that there is no other political party in our country that has the interest of the poor at heart except for the African National Congress. We commit to deliver the student vote to the ANC and will work hard sparing no effort to ensure that the ANC has a landslide victory. We will do so in honour of our honorary President Walter Sisulu and his generation of freedom fighters such as Nelson Mandela, OR Tambo, Govan Mbeki, Albertina Sisulu, Joe Slovo and many others. Together We Move South Africa Forward. There is only one choice for South African students' it is the African National Congress.

Issued by the NEC of SASCO

For more information contact

Ntuthuko Makhombothi (President): 0718752209
Luzuko Buku (Secretary General): 0718793258