COSATU warns government and big business that they will reap what they are sowing at Nedlac
The Congress of South African Trade Unions, South African Union of Students and some other stakeholders will be going to Nedlac next week to discuss the Section 77 Notice that was lodged by the federation; informing Nedlac that we intend to declare a national strike in demand of Free Education. We have noted the arrogance of the national government and big business on this matter.
Government continues to boycott and undermine Nedlac by sending junior bureaucrats with no decision making powers, while big business continues to condescendingly treat Nedlac as a platform , where they think that they can go make presentations and not engage. We will shut down Nedlac if these social partners keep undermining and undercutting it in this manner.
We want to remind both these social partners that the economic history of this country ,especially the current economic situation ,has proven to all of us that they do not have monopoly over what is economically sound or sensible. In fact they appear to be currently clueless about what needs to be done to take the nation out of this economic quagmire.
The federation wants to warn big business that COSATU does not have corporate overlords and will not allow Nedlac to be turned into platforms, where they showcase their obscene conceit and lecture other social partners. Nedlac is a platform ,where we should all deal with each other as equals and we will not allow that to be undermined.
We also want to caution our government against this pro business zealotry , when it come to policy discussions. The price for getting economic relations wrong is calamity and both these social partners will reap the rewards of what they are currently sowing by undermining Nedlac.
We are currently busy engaging with other stakeholders because we think it is time for all of us to unite in holding our elected representatives with healthy contempt. We do not owe them they owe us and it’s time to cash in the cheque.
COSATU strongly believes that education is not only a socio-economic matter but is also a human rights issue. We are supportive of this demand for free education because our members are the ones, who are expected to pay for education and they cannot afford. We demand that NSFAS should be oriented towards the realisation of free education. The Fees Commission should speedily conclude its work and it must be available to all stakeholders for engagement.
The federation also demands that a new effective and efficient central application system needs to be introduced throughout the country. Outsourcing and casualisation should be stopped in all institutions of higher learning. We are also worried by the victimisation of student leaders by university management. We demand the release of all those, who have been arrested for demanding free education. They must all be given an opportunity to write the 2016 exams. We have received the notice that exams are continuing in most universities and we welcome that. But we warn that if there is no immediate response to issues raised by students, this temporary peace will be derailed and we will have some severe setbacks.
COSATU reiterates its call for the introduction of wealth tax that will help with the funding of free education and that the country’s budget must prioritise free education. We also demand curriculum transformation that responds to the needs of this continent and our country in particular. All of these above demands can be resolved and they do not need research or a commission of enquiry they only need a political will. We also want all issues that relate to free education to discussed only at Nedlac and nowhere else.
Statement issued by COSATU, 10 November 2016