South African Students Congress

SASCO Statement on Racism in our Universities and the Free Education Campaign

12 August 2014

The South African Students’ Congress has learnt with great concern the recent incidents of racism that have taken place in some of our institutions of higher learning. These incidents are evident to our long held position that South African universities continue to be preserves to perpetuate the legacy of our regrettable past. In South Africa we continue to have black and white universities, the later being for the privileged few and the former for the marginalized majority. This continues to be the case because of the blatant refusal by the powers that be in our institutions to transform these institutions.

Some ten years ago a decision to merge our institutions, intended to change this very reality was taken. Universities such as Wits, Rhodes and UCT refused to be merged with disadvantaged universities. This was a clear indication to us that the intention was to preserve the ivory tower status of these institutions. Other institutions like the North West University (Potchefstroom Campus) and the University of Free State a decade later have done little to merge with their black campuses.

We are not surprised, neither are we intimidated by numerous calls, texts  and emails from white racists and a number of black racists apologist, who have been threatening our struggle against racism and secretly attacking us for challenging racism in our institution. We believe there has been a deliberate plan on these unwarranted attacks of our movement by hired consultants to lead a campaign against our struggles. We also note that every time racist are exposed in Potchefstroom Campus of NWU, a poster purported to be black racism emerges, we have noted this attitude and know that is lead by those Afrikaner racists of PUKKE Campus. The ‘Kill the Boer’ posters remain a petty creation of the racists apologists in this particular university.

We wish to inform South Africans that we will be engaged in various campaigns on our campuses to expose racism. We have long raised our concerns with government and we further intend to raise them with the Higher Education South Africa (HESA). Our previous NEC took a decision to engage in a National March to the Potchefstroom Campus of the University of North West demanding the end to various racists practices in this institution and an end to its apartheid style institutional cultural design.

We are seriously considering having a nationwide campaign against racism in our universities, more particularly the University of Pretoria due to the recent incidence. We believe the recent incident presents our nation with another opportunity to consider the pace of transformation in our country.  The organization has long called for the permanent expulsion of those two racists student who insulted our black parents in a manner reminiscent of the oppression of Sarah Baartman.

 This year, we have taken a resolution to accelerate our efforts on our free education campaign, by involving not only students in our fight, but to also involve our sisters and brothers, mothers and fathers, and all people living on this land to rally behind the call of SASCO call on free quality education. We have launched our Free Education One Million Signatures Campaign earlier this month. Together with our structures we will be in churches, villages, farms, towns, taxi rank, shopping malls/centers, train stations, across the country to educate and mobilize society on our Free Education Campaign.

This campaign is aimed at mobilizing society behind our call for Free Quality Education. SASCO calls on all South Africans to participate in our campaign by visiting our website, and use either the manual or electronic petition. Our structures have begun the work on the petition and we will be visiting communities to mobilize support of the working class and poor. The last step will be to have a national march to the Department of Higher Education and Training to demand free education from the Minister Blade Nzimande.

Central University of Technology Vice Chancellor Prof Mthembu continue to victimize student leaders of that institution, this is a clear demonstration of violating student rights in that university, it cannot be that 12 student leaders and student activist have been expelled for leading a protest in defense of students interests in that university. This conduct of punishing students for fighting for their rights is out of order and a backward way of dealing with students concerns.

The other VC who continues to victimize student leaders if Prof Mogalong, who has just shut down MEDUNSA and not meeting and engaging with student leader to resolve challenges, experienced by students in the university, chasing students away has never been a solution, and will never be a solution in resolving students concerns. This is a clear indication of these two VC in giving leadership to these universities, we thus reiterate our call for these two Vice Chancellors’ to be fired and removed from their responsibilities with immediate effect, and responsible and capable people be put to stir transformation of those universities of the people and not VC.
Issued by the NEC of SASCO

For more information contact

Ntuthuko Makhombothi (President): 0718752209

Luzuko Buku (Secretary General): 0718793258