NEWS & ANALYSIS

Govt must drop charges against all Fallists – SAFTU KZN

Federation says president must give student activists presidential amnesty

ANC-led government must drop charges against all activists of fees must fall

20 August 2018

The South African Federation of Trade Union firstly wish to send its unwavering support to all Fees Must Fall activist who are taken to various courts by the current government in that they must stay strong and resolute even during this trialling time. 

Indeed SAFTU and the entire working class has never imagine that such tactics and conduct used by the apartheid government will be witnessed under the democratic government. We have also never imagine that state apparatus will be used to silence the decent views, ideas and ideology and discourage youth activism in political sphere. 

As SAFTU we believe that the cause fought for by the student was not that of this few identified individuals such as Bonginkosi Khanyile or Mcebo Dlamini but was for the entire youth and student of South Africa. The right to education is the right that has been guaranteed in both the Freedom charter and South African Constitution. Therefore any prosecution to students who attempted to remind the government of such an important right and what South Africans committed into in 1955 and mandated the “then” liberation movement to lead it, is tantamount to betrayal of the will of the people and walking out of the contract signed by the working class in relation to education in 1955. 

The Ramaphosa government must prove to South African people if it still stands by that contract or commitment thus by withdrawing all charges against the students who are being prosecuted by his administration. This young students has not killed anyone unlike many who murdered 34 workers in Marikana but still walk free. These student never stole any billions which has been witnessed in various parastatals and government institutions. 

We believe the current challenges within the higher education in relation to the funding of student represented by NSFAS which has become the National Student FRAUD ALLIANCE Scheme has proved that indeed there was a legitimate problem within higher education. This has been demonstrated through number of reported challenges within the scheme, not limited to nepotism, fraud, mismanagement, non-payments of student fees at least for the last past 3/4 years. This has been confirmed by the current minister of Minister of Higher Education thus by suspending any new application for financial assistance for 2019. 

Furthermore, it our view that student has been vindicated by the former president Zuma when he announced FREE EDUCATION as a response to their struggle or demand sending a clear message that what they stood for was correct, despite it modalities which are far from what the student demanded. 

All this should be the mitigating factors to a caring parent in form of President Ramaphosa. It is total unfair, inconsistence, and disingenuous for the state to prosecute and make four or five student to be responsible for what has been termed damage of property estimated to billions and violation of the laws by only four. 

All student who march including the children of some ministers and members of parliament was unlawful, with no proper permit application, characterised by violence which the government is in possession off evidence ...therefore the selection of this student smells serious purging, vendetta, and political prosecution. 

We therefore as SAFTU–KZN calls on the president Ramaphosa to prove its objectivity thus by heading to the call made by this poor students and give them presidential amnesty and set up a commission of enquiry into the issues related to fees must fall. 

This are young future leaders activist of the country, who are selfless hence their struggle was not aiming to benefit them as individuals but the entire education system. 

Therefore a real democratic, caring government who believe in its youth must set this student free from any prosecution. 

The government must interpret the activism of this selfless student in the context of the youth of 1976 but act different from the apartheid government. If the government do not drop charges against this young leaders and heroes of our life time, this has got a serious effect on the activism of our youth in participation on selfless struggle and history will judge the ANC government very harshly. 

We call upon the student not be divided and allow the capitalist system which breeds corruption, individualism and competition but remain resolute understanding that “they are the people on the same boat under the same circumstances...UNITY FOR THEM IS NOT OPTIONAL but A MUST noting the struggle ahead. 

Youth of this country must remember they are the majority, with great power on their hands. If the government fail to drop charges, SAFTU urge all the youth of the country to remember such a decision during ELECTION TIME in 2019. 

Finally, we call upon ALL parents, trade unions, civil formation, workers and working class in general to support this call and our kids as they are made to appear in courts instead of allowing them to contribute to the economy of the country. Let’s not hand over our kids and their future to wolves. 

Issued by Moses A Mautsoe, Provincial Secretary, SADTU KZN, 20 August 2018