24 June 2014
The National Executive Committee of the South African Students Congress (SASCO) met from the 20th to the 22nd of June 2014 at the Booysens Hotel in Johannesburg. The meeting reflected on the political and organizational state of the student's revolution in the context of prevailing material realities.
The meeting took place in the context of the Youth Month, where June 16 1976 was the official day for the start of the event that came to be known as the Soweto Uprising in South African historiography. NEC agreed that this month ought to be dedicated to the education and skilling of young people in the land. This is the best way to ensure that we better remember the struggle of students of South Africa.
We owe this also to the struggle led by the Congress of South African Students (COSAS), the South African Students Organisation (SASO) and various other student formations in the land who led a fight against apartheid. This we do under the understanding that part of our struggle is to fight against the temptation of forgetting.
The NEC took time to reflect on the 90th Anniversary of the formation of the student movement in South Africa. The year 1924 saw the birth of organized student politics in South Africa with the formation of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS). The NEC tasked itself into hosting various activities to commemorate this important historical event in the life of the country. The responsibility of imparting knowledge on our history vests on us as a student movement and we ought not to outsource this important responsibility. To this effect, the NEC will be hosting a National Political School to be held in Kimberley in the Northern Cape Province from 27th to the 29th June 2014. The political school will be held under the theme: Repositioning SASCO as a Marxists-Leninist Student Political Force.
The idea of this school is not only to receive political inputs and papers from the various speakers invited, but also it is to review the Strategy and Perspective Document of the organization and the Organizational Renewal Document. Decisions on these will then be sent to the next NEC for adoption and thus recommendations to the NGC. This will therefore be part of our document drafting process as we try to create an organization that is reflective of our current conditions as students and that is also true to its historical mission.
On the FET NSFAS Bursary Guidelines
As part of its deliberations, the NEC took a resolution against certain sections of the FET Department of Higher Education and Training Bursary Scheme Guidelines that have been used for this year. The NEC argued that provisions outlined in point 16 of the guidelines which discriminates against those students staying within 10 kilometers from the institutions in relation to how they get transport money are absurd.
SASCO is vehemently against the view that students who stay far as 9 kilometers from the college campuses are required to spend most their time walking, instead of studying. The question of safety and security for students remains a serious challenge in this regard and criminals continue to feast on our poor students.
We call for the review of this policy starting from this coming semester and that all students are given transport allocation. This problem even has an effect on the 80 percent class attendance of students as they sometimes do not have money to go to campus. This is why we call for the review of this provision also, so that it appreciates the various realities of poor students.
Free Education Campaign - One Million Signatures Campaign
The NEC received a report on the preparations towards SASCO's Free Education campaign this year. The NEC previously adopted the One Million Signatures For Free Education Campaign as a form of accelerating the struggle for Free Education and as a way of ensuring that the South African public is indeed involved in the process towards the introduction of Free Education. Starting from mid-July, we will be moving all over the country in an effort to get a confirmation of support from South Africans on the campaign. This programme will also run online on the organization's website.
This million signatures campaign will culminate in a march to the Department of Higher Education and Training and the National Treasury on the 22 of August 2014. We will be calling on the department to take the plight of students seriously by ensuring that it indeed provides free education. This is a call to take Free Education from being a concept spoken of into being a reality. The march will go to the National Treasury as a move against its unguided fiscal austerity as it relates to education funding in South Africa.
The NEC agreed to ensure that we increase a pull of ambassadors for this campaign so that it can be able to get the publicity that it deserves. The NEC was tasked to engage on the process of finding popular figures that will draw support for the campaign in the media space and that these ought to be inclusive of celebrities as well.
On the National Minimum Wage
Having noted the gross exploitation of the working class in the country through low wages and labor violations, the NEC deliberated on the urgent need for greater monitoring and evaluation of South African labor laws. The NEC called on all leaders of the movement and general society to ensure that they pay their workers decent salaries and that they should refuse the temptation to casualise their workforce for financial convenience. It further made a call for entrepreneurs (within and outside of the movement) to register their employees in terms of the labor laws of the land, even if these are cattle herders.
We applaud the ANC's committed to investigate the introduction of the National Minimum Wage and call for urgent implementation of such. The introduction of the National Minimum Wage should be coupled with strict regulations to ensure compliance and ensure that the working class remains protected from capital exploitation. This is very important so that the primary motive force of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) does indeed benefit for the advancement of the revolution.
National General Council
In the context of the 90th Anniversary of the Student Movement, with the formation of NUSAS and the 23rd Anniversary the SASCO as an organ of transformation, NEC agreed that the National General Council (NGC) will be held at Rhodes University, Grahamstown from the 30th of November to the 04th of December 2014. This is also in appreciation of the principle of rotation of NGCs and National Congresses in the various provinces throughout time. The National Working Committee with the PEC of this province was therefore tasked to ensure that all logistics are intact, so that we do not face challenges that we faced at the Vhenda Congress in 2013 and the Elija Mango NGC in 2012.
Issued by the NEC of SASCO
For more information contact:
Ntuthuko Makhombothi (President): 0718752209
Luzuko Buku (Secretary General): 0718793258