The South African Students Congress (SASCO) held its second plenary session, the National Executive Committee, which convened on the 4th to the 6th of September 2020 in Centurion, Gauteng Province. The meeting received political update from the President which reflected on the political state of the organisation, the post schooling and training sector, domestic and global balance of forces. An organisational update that was presented by the Secretary General, both report gave an insightful diagnosis into the new ways of organizing in the post schooling and training sector.
TVET Crisis and Urgent need to turn them into construction sites
The National Executive Committee has reiterated its stance for the revamping and development of the TVET Colleges infrastructure especially taking advantage of the covid-19 pandemic that has brought the contact learning into standstill. We view this opportunity as one of the rare opportunities that can be used by the department of higher education and training to turn these campuses into construction sites so to prepare for the swift return of students to more attractive and world class infrastructure that will likely make these institutions to be institutions of choice.
The NEC also took a deep reflection into court interdicts of student leaders in the TVET sector by the college managers. The NEC is of the view that this is yet another tactic to silence the students’ voice and in turn allowing the corrupt college managers to loot the little resources these institutions have. We will be writing to the minister and deputy minister of higher education to intervene in this crisis waiting to explode in this sector.
Largely, the crisis in the TVET sector can be attributed to the following;
1. The incompetence of the DG and DDG;
2. The corrupt college managers and councils appointed by the minister in our TVET Colleges;
3. The deliberate absence of SAFETSA as a legitimate statutory students body in the sector;
4. Indecisiveness of the Minister as the political head of the sector.
5. Immediate infrastructural development in the Tvet sector.
The NEC took a decision to urgently write to the minister of higher education and training to highlight these challenges facing the sector. We will be engaging the honourable minister to relieve some college councils and managers who are alleged to be involved in corrupt deeds, engage him on the urgency to re-launch SAFETSA that must be decided by legitimate student bodies and not the Director General who has lust to capture the sector through student leaders. We will also be writing to the minister on behalf of government highlighting the need to transform TVET Colleges to be institutions of choice.
STUDENT HOUSING AND ACCOMMODATION
Consistent with our declaration of the year 2020 as the year which we will be declaring war against student accommodation crisis, the NEC meeting also diagnosed the state of student accommodation in the land. We do this fully cognisant that majority of our students are at their respective homes yet they are being demanded that they pay rent for the residences they currently do not occupy, fully cognisant of the fact that not much has changed and that student accommodation remain unreasonably expensive and unsafe in most parts of our cities. The meeting also received a reports on the ongoing break-ins and stealing of student belongings. As an organisation we strongly condemn this act and call on res managers to replace students’ belongings.
The NEC has also diagnosed a serious safety concern, safety in relation to the up roar of GBV and safety in relation to COVID, the diagnosis has led to the NEC working towards planning different safety mechanisms across the country. The proposed safety mechanism will be tailored for specific institutions and will focused on problems in and around those institutions. Student safety must be a priority, not only for institutions but must be a priority for government across the board.
PYA UNITY AND STABILITY
The meeting took reflection into the state of other PYA components. The NEC expressed its satisfaction with the resolve of COSAS matter and further complimented the sitting NEC of COSAS for its maturity that it has displayed throughout the process.
The meeting was concerned with the NYTT disunity and the total absence of the ANCYL. The NEC resolved to engage other PYA components to summon the NYTT team led by elders to come to the PYA summit to give an account of what they have been doing since they were appointed and ultimately resolve on guidelines and timeline for the ANCYL National Conference.
Following the untimely departure of Cde Siyabulela Lufele who was the Provincial Convenor of SASCO FS, the NEC took a unanimous decision to appoint Cde Asive Dlanjwa to be the Provincial Convenor. In honour and appreciation of Cde Siya’s service and dedication to the broad movement and student movement in particular, the NEC resolved to co-opt him to be remembered as having been part of the 21st NEC of SASCO.
The NEC expressed its disappointment with the level disunity in this province and thereby undermining the efforts of NEC to restore unity and cohesion into the organisation. The NEC has affirmed the NWC decision to deploy four (4) deployees to the Province of Limpopo to consult and appoint regional structures and restore unity into the Province.
The Province currently has two (2) regions without structures, the NEC has resolved to send a new deployee to the Province to fast track the process of consultation and appointment of new regional structures.
The meeting further emphasized on building a united and vibrant organisation. This can only be possible through committed activists with shared perspective on what needs to be done.
The organisation has since virtually met with the leadership of ZINASU to discuss the current political dynamics in our neighbouring country and strong ally. Out of our meeting with the student movement of Zimbabwe we got to understand the extent of the crisis in Zimbabwe. As an organisation we join all progressive forces calling for revolutionary change and maintaining of democracy and its institutions in Zimbabwe. We are of the view that all the gains of democracy have been reversed in favour of dictatorship kind of leadership with no respect for democratic principles.
As we continue with celebrating the 29th anniversary of SASCO, we call upon various generations of student leaders to contribute on the growth of the student movement through articles about the history of the student movement in the country. This will assist to develop a knowledge base of where we are coming from, where we are and where we are going as SASCO. The body of knowledge will significantly cover the work done and the hardship faced across the years for us to get where we are. Creating an epistemology of knowledge serves a significant role, the history of African literature and other advancements has gone to ashes due to the lack of such documentation, the articles are in this regard an attempt to create a base of history directly from those that played an active role in shaping the student movement.
Issued by SASCO NEC
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