On Free education for the poor
The NEC reflected on the question of introduction of free education. We noted the ANC resolutions in their Polokwane and Mangaung conferences and various lekgotla’s; all these are in tandem and make a pronouncement that free education, at least for the poor, should be introduced in South Africa. What is lacking is boldness and decisiveness on the part of cabinet and the legislature.
We arrived at conclusion that there is a lack of political will on the basis that; about 62 percent of law makers are ANC deployees and 80 percent of the cabinet is ANC NEC members. It is worst to observe that even other opposition parties who are in parliament support the call for free education for the poor. What could possibly be the hurdle then?
We reiterated our position that the judicial commission on fees was moving at a tortoise speed. It is a commission established as a delay tactic and an attempt at arriving at a different conclusion. We will however continue participating so that our voices are heard. We expect nothing less than the pronunciation of free education by this committee for we have made substantive proposals on how to achieve this.
The ministerial task team on funding the missing middle must expedite the process of announcing its findings. Students are losing patience. We can no longer bear the burden of uncertainty about our future in 2017. We want no fee increment for the 2017 academic year especially for the poor. This remains our position we can take with a view that in 2018 free education will be delivered.
The PYA equally resolved on the following, and communicated at its PYA press briefing dated 18 August 2016
We call for a no fee increment for the working class, and poor, that is beneficiaries of NSFAS, Missing middle (parents income up to R600 000), continental students, whiles those who come from Rich Families and countries of the West and Europe, and sponsored students to pay an inflation adjusted payment. This is in effort to save the academic project, preserve quality of the system and education been provided to our students, as well as to allow our universities to honor their contractual obligation with the workers.
Having been part of stakeholder’s discussion on around the postponement of the fees commission to report this year, we call for institutions to
deal away with barriers to entry and scrap application fees, to enable the poor to apply in universities.
The private sector, which is the greatest beneficiary of the system, continues to benefit at the expense of the poor and state, whiles playing minimal role in skilling, and empowering the youth of this country. It is for this reason that we have resolved to take the battle on the doors of South African capital, the JSE and mining houses, in demand of a Billion Rand Debt relief for the poor and missing middle, we will take to the streets in demand of the private sectors increased role to fund free education in SA.
Is if for these reasons that the NEC of SASCO concluded that:
The private sector must increase its direct investment into education. This must be done without conditions but as part of their social responsibility. The rich must continue to pay for their education; so are those who are funded by big corporate. We cannot use resources meant for the alleviation of the poor to be used to further enrich the privileged and the rich as that will be further widening inequality in South Africa OUR LAND!
Students are not a class, rather a strata in transit, who own their allegiance to the class they come from, therefore working class youth have a responsibility to part take on daily struggles of the working class, we are encouraged by the solidarity of those who might not be coming from working class families, but the working class youth have a responsibility to not allow competing class interest their hijack their struggles for narrow political and economic ends
We conclude by saying the proposal given by the minister of fee adjustment for the poor and missing middle, that is parents of those who earn up to R50 000 per month, is an acceptable compromise for 2017 academic year, for we know that such will cover almost 75% of the sector, who are student from the poor and working class.
We now await the outcomes of the missing middle ministerial working group, which must equally pronounce on debt relief for the missing middle, who have been subjected to paying unfordable fees for far too long. We reject the notion of state subsidy for fees to all, the rich must pay, business must pay, ours struggle is free quality education of the working class and poor, until we deal with inequalities, then we can talk about free education for all.
Issued by the NEC of SASCO
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