We meet here today to commemorate the 42 Anniversary since the passing of a soldier Cde Solomon Mahlangu. A young man who dedicated his childhood to the betterment and freedom of his country.
On his day where he had to choose between life and death he said, “Tell my people that I love them and that they must continue the fight, my blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom, Aluta continua.”
On the occasion similar of commentating the life and times of Solomon Mahlangu in 2007, Prof Saleem Badat in his memorial lecture charged that, “Solomon Mahlangu gave his life for freedom the broadest sense of the word – freedom associated not with just political and civil rights but also substantive freedom from abject and grinding poverty and unemployment, from social deprivation and hunger and disease, and from the crass individualism and materialism that blights our democracy; a freedom which sees the progressive realization of the social, economic and human rights that are fundamental to living full, decent, productive, rich and rewarding lives.”
As an organization we believe that the appropriate tribute to Solomon Mahlangu in these annual lectures, must be a practice of freedom which refuses to accept the logic of inequality and massive exclusion of young people from economic activities and access to higher education and training.
We stand here Comrade Kalushi to say your organization in Government has betrayed the Poor and the Working Class Children because;
– We stand here morethan two decades later still crying for Free Quality and Compulsory Higher Education, (Higher Education is still not a Public Good).
– Higher Education has became a Debt Sentence, (Students have debts grater than their parents)
Your organization in Government has betrayed the people in General and Workers in Particular because;
– Workers are today without Salary Increment.
– Worker’s Rights are everyday being limited and the federation being depoliticised.
We feel we must register some of these issues to you Comrade Solomon so that as Government and the movement continue to spend in your memory, you are aware of the betrayed Values and Principles which face our movement today.
Our Country is said to be captured by Monopoly Capital but we must without shame tell you that yours and our movement is captured by Greed and Cruelty from its leaders. They have amassed so much that they don’t mind the movement losing governance and leading society because them and their families are set for life.
Without overwhelming you Cde Mahlangu we must say your movement since the dawn of Democracy has made serious strides to deliver to the people of South Africa;
– 92% if not more have access to decent Housing, Water and Electricity,
– In 2018 Fee Free Education was introduced,
– In March 2020 Social Relief Fund was introduced,
– Dignity Packs for the poor at Basic Education Level have been introduced,
We can go on and on, but the story would be more beautiful if our Leaders loved the People and the country enough to avoid many of the ills which faces us today.
Our message is that the fight against social ills of Drug and Alcoholism must continue just like how we must fight the cancerous Corruption which engulfs the Congress Movement where everything is a transaction.
We can in conclusion safely say, your people continue to fight to see your blood nourishing true freedom for ordinary citizens because yours was a struggle for the people not the elite.
Your departure must serve to us as a reminder that we indeed stand on shoulders of giants and that your departure must be nothing but a reminder of why we must care for the vulnerable.
As we go back to our campuses, we shall sing about you whenever we are in search of freedoms in the corridors of untransformed post schooling education and training institutions in our country. For your name continues to symbolize resilience and just fight against oppression.
South African Students Congress (SASCO)