Deputy President of SASCO, comrade Luyanda Tenge,
Members of the National Executive,
ANC NEC Member, comrade Nkanyezi
NEHAWU General Secretary, comrade Zola Saphetha
Leaders of the Progressive Youth Alliance,
Provincial Executive Committee members present,
Members of SASCO from all branches across the country.
On behalf of SASCO 20th NEC, I wish to extend warm and special revolutionary greetings.
We converge here from all corners of the country to communicate to members of SASCO and students at large the victories we scooped during the 2019 Right To Learn Campaign and further outline the plans SASCO has in the higher education sector.
There are thousands of students that are glued on all digital, print and social media spaces to hear what SASCO has to say about their daily struggles; they do so because SASCO remains their only beacon of hope, their chief advocate and the only reliable revolutionary student organization.
It is today, that we have once again proved beyond reasonable doubt that SASCO remains the biggest and the most relevant student organization that exists at the behest of students aspirations.
We are the descendants of many intellectual warriors, the likes of Okpontse Tiro, Xola Nene, Sphiwe Zuma, Claude Qavane, Babalwa Ntabeni, Wanga Sigila, Kgomotso Mokgoere, Liyanda Maphanga, Peter Sefuthi and many unsung student activists. These great compatriots sacrificed their lives to ensure that this revolutionary giant (SASCO) continues to exist to the benefit of the student.
The preamble of the SASCO constitution outlines clearly what should be the role of SASCO, It defines it as follows, and I quote,
“Whereas we the students of South Africa, realizing that we are members of the community before we are students, and committing ourselves to a non racial, non sexist and democratic society free of exploitation and national oppression in which harmony amongst people will prevail, find it necessary to articulate the aspirations of the oppressed, progressive and democratic minded and historically oppressed in a united manner and therefore determined:
1. To organize students to work towards the transformation of education
2. To organize students to play a meaningful role in the transformation of South African Society, the Southern African Region, the African Continent and the International Community.”
Standing on the shoulders of these students activists and SASCO convocants; let us rededicate ourselves to the core values of SASCO and its traditions, that is; to serve students selflessly, sacrifice, collective leadership, honesty, discipline, hard work, robust debates, constructive criticism and self-criticism with mutual respect.
SASCO was accorded the status of being the intellectual hub of the Mass Democratic Movement. This comes as a result of SASCO’s ability to provide ideological clarity on sophisticated student and societal issues.
In SASCO, you were never elected because you are a friend of leadership or because we sympathize for you, or your good looks, financial capacity, rowdy behaviour or because you are a great singer at SASCO congresses and gatherings. A leadership position in SASCO is earned through an ideological capacity, assertiveness, possessing high moral ground and the ability to understand the nature and the character of our society and the struggle.
What are the challenges that confront the student movement today?
SASCO is an integral part of the Congress movement, the cancerous tendencies that are at play in the Congress movement have mushroomed into the ranks of SASCO, therefore our challenges are similar;
– The loss of appetite for reading and writing.
– Money politics
– Manipulation of organizational processes
We only see activism in branches during SRC elections and Congress nomination BGMs. Members of the NEC, PEC’s and REC’s only participate in their branches when it is time for elections! It can not be.
Where to from here?
We all bear the responsibility to cleanse the buttered image of SASCO; there is only one way to rescue the image of SASCO and that is to INVEST in POLITICAL EDUCATION. This to be achieved from the NEC to the last member of SASCO — we must ensure that reading becomes part of our routine in that way we make it make it fashionable!
We must utilize our SASCO convocants and alliance leaders, they must be at the centre of political education. Branches ought to hold weekly political schools where thorough engagements and learning is the order of the day.
The NEC has also taken a progressive resolution to hold Quarterly Regional Political Schools, that will be attended by BECs. These political schools will be facilitated by the NEC, convocants and progressive force.
As is tradition and a constitutional requirement, ALL branches of SASCO must hold BEC meetings and convene BGMs to report to their members, and most importantly, receive their mandate from its members.
We must guard against those who manipulate organizational processes for their factional and personal interests.
We will rejuvenate the SASCO Imvuselelo Campaign inline with our 2019 theme: “2019 the Year of SASCO Branches”. The intention of this campaign is to revive SASCO at a grassroots level towards renewal, a modernized and repositioned. This to ensure that we position SASCO to its rightful dispensation in society.
The unity of our structures will be very important as we move forward.
The RTLC, our annual program,
The origins of this campaign stem from our constitutional obligation to ensure access and holistic transformation in the higher education sector. It is during this campaign where we fight to dismantle the remnants of the colonial apartheid era that was relentless in entrenching segregation.
It is incumbent upon us to fight against any institution that systematically excludes the offspring of the working class and the downtrodden masses of our people from education and still operates as ivory towers for the rich and privileged.
2019 marks a year post the attainment of fee-free higher education for the poor and working class. We ought to truly reflect as the student movement and be agents in guiding and guarding the education vehicle in ensuring quality education is achieved. As such, we need to review the point system, in particular, its exclusive nature, teaching mechanisms alongside the curriculum itself to ensure students are afforded the quality education they deserve. We need to discourage academic overproduction and intellectual underproduction.
We wish to thank all SASCO activist who had to cut their holidays short and went back to campuses as early as the 4th of January 2019 with a clear conscience of working towards ensuring expanded access to higher education.
It is through your concerted efforts that we have sealed some victories particularly increased access to education for the children of the poor and working class.
The Struggle for Free Quality Education.
The struggle for Fee Free Quality Education must continue,
Paulo Freire in the Pedagogy of the oppressed refers to a banking paradigm as regarding students to be adaptable, manageable beings, the more completely they accept the passive role imposed on them, the more they tend simply to adapt to the world as it is and to the fragmented view of reality deposited in them.
SASCO has long held that any credible system of education should be interchangeable, that all social beings are capable of learning and teaching, as such we call for students to play an integral part in the constructing of a curriculum that will produce critical thinking and knowledge ownership in students.
We have gathered here comrades to affirm the correctness and appropriateness of our assertion the Right To Learn Campaign. We do this precisely because education is a public good and should not be made by any measure a commodity with a seller-buyer approach, as well as an exchange value subject to the dictates of invisible market forces.
What are the social challenges confronting our students?
Once again the preamble in our SASCO constitution bears reference;
“Whereas we the students of South Africa, realizing that we are members of the community before we are students,…” the social problems that confront our society manifests themselves within institutions of higher learning. Amongst these social ills are; Institutional Autonomy and academic freedom as the bottleneck towards transformation of the higher education sector.
SASCO reaffirms its position against institutional autonomy. We do so because we are still convinced that institutions of higher learning can not and should not operate parallel to the principles of our democratic government.
It is through this institutional autonomy that our institutions have:
- Turned in SPAZA SHOPS of Vice Chancellors.
- A harbour of corruption
- Dictators on who to study, where to study and how to study.
Institutional autonomy remains our enemy and the enemy of social-economic transformation.
On academic freedom,
A transformation will never happen in so long as we continue to speak from the benches other than taking an active role.
The fight for postgraduate students must be intensified. We need more black and progressive academics to push the transformation agenda.
We wish to encourage all convocants and SASCO members to do post-graduate studies in order to fill this space.
On statutory bodies in our institutions,
We maintain that stemming from institutional autonomy, Councils and Senate’s become structures that implement all reactionary and backward decisions in our institutions. The composition of these structures has no interest of the student and community development at heart but business desires and interests.
SASCO thus calls for the restructuring of Councils to ensure more inclusive participation from students, communities and unions.
We further call for the rejuvenation of student services councils which these VCs are suppressing because they want to run away from accountability.
1. SAFETY OF STUDENTS ON CAMPUS
The sad reality is that day by day our institutions are becoming more and more unsafe for our students. The assessments and reports we get ranging from the killing of students, rape cases and abuse of woman are appalling. A greater chunk of these cases stems from the failure to get conducive student accommodation and a failure to apply the NSFAS criteria adequately.
2. LGBTQI DISCRIMINATION
As explicitly elucidated in one of the aims and objectives of SASCO that we ought to “strive to rally students of our country to support and unite behind SASCO and actively participate in the struggle and programs to create a non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous society.”
SASCO must forge ahead and ensure that no student must be discriminated on the basis of their gender orientation. The onslaught against the LGBTQI community must be condemned in the strongest terms possible.
We further call on our institutions to put measures in place and ensure that our institutions are gender inclusive, from campuses to residences.
3. ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Alcohol and substance abuse is one of the major contributing factors in the drop out rate in the Republic of South Africa. Excessive consumption of alcohol may also lead to a change of behavioural patterns which in turn lead to student loss of concentration and recklessness.
4. HIV and AIDS.
The recent statics show that HIV and AIDS are more prevalent with young people. We must be concerned because students in their majority are young and youthful in their behaviour. We wage war against blessers in our institutions, let us unite and protect our institutions against these vultures who prey on desperate and vulnerable young women.
CAMPAIGNS THAT SASCO SHOULD TAKE UP.
1. Know Your Neighborhood Campaign
We must do away with the culture of doing door to door during SRC elections, this should be a continuous program. We must hold conversations with our students in groups and on a one-on-one basis, this way we become enablers of students expressing their daily struggles and frustrations. The success of this campaign will require comrades to uphold maximum discipline and improve the image of SASCO on campus.
2. Revive Graduate Alive Campaign
This is a historical program of SASCO that was valuable in the lives of students on campus. In this campaign, we sought to advise students about the social ills that affect their academic success/progression. We need to revive this campaign and engage students, so to curb levels of alcohol consumption on campus, rape and gender-based violence.
3. Right To Work Campaign
Yearly SASCO embarks on the Right to Learn campaign to ensure that doors of learning and culture are opened for the children of the working class and the poor. We further ensure that the learning environment is conducive for students success hence one of our principles is “Access and Success”.
The current unemployment statics presents an ugly reality of graduates who are unemployed. It thus becomes incumbent on us to ensure that our brothers and sisters, the products of RTLC are employed. We join hands with all progressive forces and take a lead in this fight.
4. ONE LICENSE ONE STUDENT
The reality is that when graduates apply for jobs post the completion of qualifications a drivers license is likely to become one of the requirements demanded by the job markets.
SASCO must lead a campaign that seeks to ensure that all institutions make licenses compulsory for all students before the completion of their studies, this should be done in collaboration with the relevant stakeholders.
5. MY LAND MY ACCOMMODATION
As SASCO, we must take advantage of the burning discussion on land in the country. We must escalate the call for the building of Student Villages across the country. We must now take the battle for student accommodation to municipalities and the human settlements department.
6. INTERNATIONAL WORK
SASCO wishes to join the world in celebrating women. Women are an integral part of our struggles. We salute their participation in the struggle for the liberation of the working people of the world. Women still suffer from four interrelated challenges, which is men, unemployment, poverty and inequality.
SASCO must lead from the front in engaging in the struggle for the total liberation and emancipation of women.
SASCO sends its unequivocal support to the democratically elected President, the Honorable Maduro. We condemn the act of chauvinism and lapdogs of the imperialist USA.
The long capitalist nose of the USA only smells the mineral resources and negates the sovereignty of the people of Venezuela. As part of our international work, we will join progressive forces that will form part of a delegation to Venezuela, we are more concerned about the future of young people that is at stake because of the agents of coup de tat.
On the African Diaspora,
SASCO regrets its minimal participation and lack of support to SASU, this is a shame particularly because the structure is led by the former President of SASCO and his deputy. We commit to gearing ourselves towards actively participating in your efforts and ensuring that we collectively deal with any elements that seek to challenge the rights of a student in the region.
SASCO TVET SRC MANIFESTO
The primary purpose of the TVET’s is to provide mid-level skills for the world of work, which means providing skills that will enable students to access the world of work because they have specific and generic technical and vocational skills. It is based on this understanding that this manifesto paves a way forward to the development of the TVET sector with no further delays.
The world of work is understood as being broadly defined, encompassing formal employment, self-employment, and other forms of work. Given this background, we in the process of establishing whether what a TVET college is in South Africa is what it is in developed or developing countries.
Countries with strong TVET systems have good relationships with industry and TVET institutions. TVETs play an important role in directly linking intermediate technical education to the labour market. This means that the system will benefit a better understanding of skills needs for the South African society and industry, and the ability of TVET Colleges to respond to socio and economic needs.
TVETs have a significant role to play in the provision of skills for the success of many government programs. However, there are several weaknesses endemic to the TVET sector including qualifications that are not fit for purpose and are outdated, inadequate funding to support the rapid growth in the system since 2010, most importantly a lack of articulation between school learning and TVET colleges (why do we have FET Phase in High schools & TVET as a sector).
This manifesto is the foundation of all deployees of SASCO. As we continue with deployment BGMs, this manifesto must be discussed and confined to campus by campus dynamics.
SASCO therefore says; TVETs must rise & the following must be addressed;
1. On Enrollment and Funding
50 TVET Colleges in 2018 had 737 880 student enrollment, enrollment growth in TVET colleges has been rapid since recapitalization of the TVET (Former FET) Colleges, almost doubling between 2010 and 2015, but slowing down in response to funding and capacity constraints.
Funding average in TVET sector is at 54% in 2016/17 and increased by 18% in 2019 due to Free Education second phase of implementation, according to targets of DHET 900 000 students were targeted in 2019 while in 2017 estimated target of 660 000 only 437 427 was funded leaving 222 573 unfunded please note this is not NSFAS funding is allocation to colleges by DHET.
We are therefore saying,
Funding of TVET Colleges must be equal to the estimated enrolment of students annually. TVET colleges have been perceived by Government as non-fee paying institutions in public while in reality, students continue to sign the life sentence of debts each academic term.
We are also saying that all historical debts of students who are financially excluded in TVET colleges be removed and students be allowed back in to register next academic term.
2. Student Governance
It must be stated on record that we note many incidents in different colleges where student activists, student political leaders and SRC are victimized for raising genuine student issues. We note the silence of the CET Act on the eligibility of SRC and how their elections must be executed; the powers of the SRC must be clearly stipulated in the CET Act.
Regular capacity building workshops must be implemented by DHET if they really are concerned about the accountability of college management.
We are saying,
SRCs be given sufficient budgets to run programs and activities for students and be given powers to run with students programs independently.
We are further saying that SRC elections be done in a democratic and transparent way by an independent electoral commission not by college staff and deal away with class reps system!
SRCs must unite and strengthen SAFETSA, this union must be revolutionized and strengthened for it to discharge its mandate, only a movement populated by those determined to unite it can prosper.
1. ALLOWANCES AND STUDENT FUNDING:
We demand allowances (meals, transport and book allowances) be paid immediately after a student has registered.
2. IN-SERVICE TRAINING:
The internship and learner-ship programs must be reviewed and expanded to accommodate the increasing demand for jobs. We call on institutions to play a huge role to assist students looking for Inservice training.
3. ISSUING OF CERTIFICATES:
All outstanding certificates must be issued with immediate effect to enable students to find employment and/or further their studies. Furthermore, missing marks/papers must be thoroughly investigated.
4. INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT:
Infrastructure development should be accelerated. More and bigger lecture rooms, ICT facilities and libraries must be built with immediate effect. In the world of fast technological advancements, many campuses are without computer labs and WiFi connections to advance their studies. The overcrowding in lecture halls must be addressed. Furthermore, machinery and equipment used to lecture must be updated to be in line with the industries that are to absorb these students.
Student accommodation is increasingly becoming a nightmare in the sector. Currently, most TVETs do not have on-campus residences and has exposed students to environments that are not conducive to living, learning and exploitation by a private landlord. It is our conviction that student accommodation is one of the critical components of student academic success. Whilst we acknowledge the progress made, we demand that the department increase student accommodation budget allocation for TVETs, building of new student accommodation, refurbishment of already existing student accommodation.
6. CURRICULUM REVIEW:
SASCO demands that the DHET facilitate the convening of the curriculum review summit in the TVET sector. This summit must be attended largely by student leaders, community, business and government. The intended work of the summit is to review the outdated curriculum in the TVET, to synchronize to the demands of our people, economy and produce world competitive graduates.
7. STUDENT LEADERSHIP VICTIMISATION:
The fractured relations between student leadership and management has a palpable lead to irregular disciplinary cases and to an extent academic exclusion. This is done; so, to silence the voice of students. We, therefore, demand that all disciplinary cases against student leaders, who were charged for protest involvement, must be dropped. All student leaders must be able to further their studies without any threats.
NATIONAL GENERAL ELECTION
We are going to the 5th National General Elections, SASCO will campaign and unambiguously vote for the ANC. Our Vote for the ANC is on the premise that the ANC must do its work to change the lives of our people, students in particular. We, however, promise the ANC that our vote will not come cheap, we will from here crisscross the country and address masses of students and tell them why the ANC. We are aware that in some provinces ANC leaders don’t know what SASCO is, we know that come September we will be all alone. SASCO will continue to fight its battles with or without the ANC support, we are a revolutionary student organization in our own right.
SASCO will never succeed in its work if we are not united. We plead for unity in all our structures, guard against agent provocateurs and protect SASCO.
Let us redirect our energies towards building a strong student organization with very sharp teeth.
SASCO today, SASCO tomorrow SASCO forever.
VOTE ANC 8 MAY 2019.