South African Students Congress

SASCO Post-NEC Statement

24 March 2014

The 18th National Executive Committee of the South African Student Congress held its NEC Meeting, which also served as a Strategic Planning session and Induction on the eve of Human Rights Day from the 20th to the 23rd of March 2014 at Booysens Hotel in Johannesburg. The NEC paid tribute to those gunned down in Sharpville by the oppressive Apartheid regime. The NEC also remembers many who died in the course of struggle for human rights and dignity. We must also as we celebrate our own human rights remember those beyond our shores who continue to be subjected to oppressive regimes and human rights violations. The NEC recommitted itself to fight for the rights of all humanity.

Free Education Struggle

We note the fact that our Free Education struggle has been felt not only by government by the entirety of people in the country. It is now something that is understood in society that there is a need to ensure that there is eventually an introduction of Free Higher Education. We will continue to struggle to ensure that we make our government work more effective on this question. On the 30th of May SASCO will be launching its million signature campaign to mobilize society to openly support our call for Free Education and to also indicate to government the urgency of this particular need. We will eventually deliver this petition to the department of higher education and training during our march in the second semester. We will also be announcing our programme towards mobilize the international community on the common struggle on Free Education.

On the Public Protector Report on Nkandla

The NEC welcomed the Pubic Protectors report on Nkandla. The NEC noted the extreme opulence displayed in the security upgrades done on President Zuma's private residence in Nkandla in the face of poverty and deepening inequality in our country. The NEC noted the corruption and cronyism that characterizes this project which mirrors what we see in both the public and private sector on a daily basis. We call for the arrest of perpetrators and recapping of funds.

The NEC wishes to however expose the opportunism of the media and opposition parties who do not care about the need to abolish capitalism to rid ourselves of greed and corruption in our public sector but are rather concerned about attacking the African National Congress to seek to gain political points at the expense of problematizing corruption as a phenomenon inherent in a capitalist production system.

The NEC welcomes the exoneration of President Zuma from media conviction of intentionally misleading parliament, benefiting his family, suggestions that the President approved and initiated the misappropriation of funds in the project, the building of the Presidents' dwelling through state funds.

We are concerned about the flirtations of the Public Protector with the media. The fact that the pubic protector decided to release the report in a closed room to journalists instead of Parliaments National Assembly is a serious course for concern. We also find the leaking of earlier versions of the report highly problematic as this led to various unfounded allegations against the President by the media. We also find the timing of the release of the report rather calculated to work against the movement.

The NEC is particularly concerned about the overzealous nature of the Public Protector to find that the President in violation of the ethical code of conduct when there were various instances where the President intervened in the proceedings of the project by removing/reshuffling the Ministry of Public Works in light of various allegations of corruption.

The NEC calls for the President to deal with, as a matter of urgency with all of those found guilty of misappropriating state resources. We call upon government to act against those who misled the public about the questionable security measures such as what has been termed to be a ‘fire pool'.

Role of SETAs in Higher Education

The NEC received a presentation from the Wholesale and Retail SETA where the NEC noted the important role SETA's play in providing education and training opportunities for young people. The NEC also noted the absence of physical presence of SETA's in our institutions of higher learning and calls for onsite SETA centers in our institutions of higher learning, particularly focusing on the Further Education and Training (FET) institutions.

The NEC also noted the lack of funding for post graduate students and call for greater provision of post graduate level funding from our SETA's. The NEC also calls for SETA's to have a youth focused communication strategy to ensure young people are informed about funding and skills training opportunities provided by the various SETA's.

Battle against MTN

We note the malicious and nefarious agenda of MTN to exploit the people of South Africa by refusing to allow a new dispensation where mobile terminating rates are regulated and made favorable to the poor by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA). MTN is plotting against our people and it is not appreciative of the fact that it has received support from these people over the years. We call for MTN to withdraw its case that seeks to postpone implementation of the ICASAs plan to regulate the termination charges and relieve consumers. We are planning to engage on a serious programme against MTN with an option of calling for a mass student boycott of MTN. Before this we will engage MTN and bring it to its senses about the situation of our people and the students in the country. With the arrogance that it has demonstrated, we feel that we might be compelled to take this route.

SASCO's commitment to the Gender Struggle

In light of the 18th National Congress resolution of 50% gender representation in all structures of the organization, the NEC reaffirmed the organizations commitment to the gender struggle and thoroughly discussed the importance of the implementation of this resolution. A qualification was made in both the 17th and the 18th Congress that a minimum of 40 percent representation should always be there in structures that have odd numbers such as the Provincial Working Committee. The NEC noted that certain PECs were not aligned with this requirement and thus instructively tasked the NWC to ensure that these are taken to early conferences with the end of Apirl being our target.

On the International Balance of Forces

The NEC noted the recent events in the Ukraine as it relates to the involvement of Russia. The NEC noted the conceited efforts of liberal western media in reporting on the matter giving a perception that Russia invaded Ukraine. We are particularly concerned about the proposed sanctions on Russia by western allies as this is an indication of a rejection of the core principal of democracy and an attempt to consolidate a unipolar global society. We believe that the people of Crimea have a right to self determination and the outcomes of such a determination should be respected by all democratic forces.

On General Elections

The National Executive Committee sat as our country prepares itself for the general elections taking place on the 7th May 2014. Our task is to defend the gains of the National Democratic Revolution and to advance the ideas of the Freedom Charter. That is the reason why we have a revolutionary duty to deliver the student vote to the ANC. Albeit the persistence of the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and deepening inequality in our country, the ANC remains the most consistent driver of social change in our country. We have instructed all our structures to optimally participate in the elections programme of the ANC. We will be all out door to door, bumper to bumper to ensure we explain the good story of the ANC in education and training in the country.

On Conduct in the 18th National Congress

The 18th National Congress of the organization took exception to the organizationally uncultured manner in which some delegates to the 18th National Congress behaved. We believe that because the National Congress is the highest structure of the organization behavior of anyone in it ought to be exemplary and be within the organizational confines. Congress therefore mandated the NEC to take necessary remedial action in this case. Congress warned that if some of the conduct displayed at the congress is left unattended we might find ourselves with a degenerating organization where intolerance and anarchy is the norm. The NEC agreed with the congress that democratic engagement should be encouraged in the organization but such should be coupled with maximum discipline. The NEC agreed that what happened in the National Congress should never be allowed to happen again and as such a serious precedence must be set that the organization does not take such anarchy kindly. The NEC analyzed the conduct and came at a determination that this conduct was led by certain provincial leaders and structures. The NEC therefore took various decisions relating to this conduct and these will be communicated to the relevant structures of the organization.

Issued by the SASCO NEC

For confirmations contact:

Ntuthuko Makhombothi (President): 0718752209

Or

Luzuko Buku (Secretary General): 0718793258