South African Students Congress

Address by Selamolela Ngoako SASCO DSG on behalf of the SASCO NEC, to the Constitutional summit of TUT

16 January 2010, Bentleys Hotel, Pretoria

Members of the University management
Facilitators of the summit
The President of the SRC
Presidents of the Local SRCs
Delegates from various structures
Fellow students!

Receive revolutionary greetings from the National Executive Committee of SASCO. The NEC is pleased and honoured to stand before you to make a presentation and share some of our views and policy positions with the student community of TUT.

For sure most of us know that these summit takes place at a critical time in the lives of all our students. In the past week, We witnessed thousands of young people cueing for the registrations in various institutions in the country. We hope the SRC of TUT was also at work to assist all students in this group of students. To us as an organisation this is an important period in our calendar because one of our important campaigns, our Right To Learn Campaign is waged in this period. Our cadres are on the ground to deal with the matters relating to both academic and financial exclusion.

Our Understanding is and has always been that the current commodification of education is neither in the interest of the country nor our developmental agenda. The country continues to experience severe shortage of Health professional, Artisans, etc, while on the other side various institutions of higher learning continue to exclude students from the accessing education. For as to deal with the maladies emanating from the system of apartheid capitalism, we need to ensure that we have an educated nation. A nation that can produce sufficient resources for its' own consumption and does not rely on the outsiders for basic commodities.

Education must also therefore foster responsibility among our people in general and young people in particular. Our education needs to teach our young people to love their people, and honour human brotherhood as per the resolution of the 1955 Kliptown congress of the people.

We also understand that access must always be complemented by success and therefore as students we have a responsibility to excel in our studies. While we have an obligation to do our best in our studies we must also be vehement on the role that institution including yours must play in ensuring that conditions are always conducive for learning, teaching and research.

We shall never be able to succeed if we are not having sufficient study support materials. If the library does not have sufficient books and the computer lab does not have the sufficient computers, when materials for experimental work are not available to students for the purpose of the experiments, then we as students are bound to fail or not to have sufficient knowledge that will prepare us for the market.

It is for this reason that we engage ourselves in the Student Services Campaign to ensure that apart from having students accessing institutions of learning they must also be able to succeed academically, thus meaning they must have Competent lecturers, Competent tutors, mentors for those who need mentoring, recommended and prescribed books in the library as well as all student support material. We are therefore saying that the ANC-led government must also increase funding for infrastructure development in institutions of higher learning.

Our education is still a reflection of the apartheid colonial system and thus still reproduces the same mentality and social relation. It is therefore our considered view that the system of capitalism is reproduced and sustained by the education we receive from our various institutions teaches us to be much more effective tools for the capitalist system. what is more worry-some is that the big co-operates, owning almost the entire south African economy still find no logic in sponsoring students studying in institutions in our country.

The real question therefore is what do we do, and what are we suppose to do with the current situation confronting the student mass in particular and the society in general. Are we as leaders of students, and young people in general prepared to take up all our intellectual arms to fight for a better and humane system for all our people. Are we suppose to be in the sideline and just observe the masses of our people suffering from miseries brought about by the system of capitalism.

We are convinced as an organisation that as students we must be able to understand the miseries that our people and communities are suffering from and actively participate in the process to ensure that we deal away with all the challenges that our communities are facing. Correct political leadership will always understand the challenges facing his people and avail himself to the struggle to root -out these miseries.

SRC is obviously a platform to advance our transform agenda. A platform to ensure that we deal away with the ivory-tower character of our institutions and build peoples' institutions out of them. For sure comrades remembers that we are in a struggle to build institutions of Higher learning which will serve our people and assist in building a developmental state that will be able to intervene in the interest of the working class and the poor of our country.

Our deployees in the SRC must ensure that we are able to broaden access and success. Our SRC must also transform institutional structures to ensure that we are able to democratise the institution in line with our Motto: Unity for democracy in education. This therefore means that the SRC must never be consumed into the pocket of management. Institutional managers will always use money and other forms of patronage to get the favour of students. The SRC therefore is and must always be regarded, as an institution that Speak and act on behalf of students and that must therefore be the central mandate of the SRC. Lets us not forget things we promised students through our manifesto and therefore deliver on them. Of paramount importance also is that the SRC must on regular basis account to students.

Our comrades deployed must never think that the SRC is a self- enrichment scheme and in the same breadth comrades must not when trying to advance their filthy personal agendas start alleging corruption against our SRC deployees.

In bringing the address to close let us challenge you to:

  1. Learn and master the South African education landscape and higher education in particular.
  2. Learn and master the south African political economy
  3. Learn and master the global economy
  4. Learn and master Marxist lenninst theory

We must therefore in this regard learn from our books, learn from people and never stop learning as the former leader of the people of Guinea Bissau Cde Amilcar Cabral put it, but we must in the process of learning be acting against all this miseries.

We are also calling upon all young people who love their people to join as in a process to ensure that we have a better country and a better tomorrow. Tomorrow must and will surely be determined by us. It is therefore up to us to decide if tomorrow must be the same as today, or must be better than today or even more worse than today. We are convinced that all of us gathered in this hall will want to see the tomorrow to be better than today. This must also not just be a wish; we must act towards realising a better tomorrow that will be characterised by prosperity, non-racialism, non-sexism. This better tomorrow must also be characterised by no exploitation of man by another.

On behalf of the entire NEC collective, we wish you well in your discussions!