NUMSA commemorates the 100 year anniversary of the Russian Revolution

NUMSA backs students demands for free Education

21 October 2015, Posted in Press Releases

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), on behalf of its 365 000 members, pledges its unflinching solidarity with the students across South Africa’s varsities in their legitimate demand for free, quality public education.

We fully endorse the calls to stop treating tertiary education as a commodity from students of Wits University; University of Cape Town; University of Fort Hare; Stellenbosch University; Rhodes University; Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and others.

We also want to condemn the hypocrisy of the ANC in issuing a statement which purports to support the struggle for free public education. It is under the neoliberal policies of the ANC that universities have become more and more commercialized and education has become a privatized commodity to sell to those who have money.

It is under the neoliberal policies of the ANC that tenderpreneurial corruption has replaced state provision of services. Enough money has been stolen in this process to fund free public tertiary education for all those who qualify.

It is also under the neoliberal policies of the ANC that the huge profits of the mining corporations have been exported to overseas shareholders while manufacturing industry has died. It is this scenario that threatens the chances of our students to find jobs when they graduate. Fees are going up at the same time as graduate unemployment.

The ongoing students’ protests are a total rejection of the ideological fog of a “good story to tell”, once punted during 2014 elections by the fast-fading African National Congress (ANC) governing Alliance. Furthermore, these protests are a reflection of the failures and lack of political will by the ANC’s leadership to take forward what was once regarded as a “watershed “moment, the 2007 Polokwane resolutions “to progressively introduce free education for the poor until undergraduate level”.

We condemn the use of repressive organs of the State, particularly the police using excessive force to criminalise and undermine dissent from below. The students have a right to protest and demand from their elected public representatives to deliver on their electoral commitments to the poor.

We call on the protesting students’ to join with us in fighting the common enemy of South African workers and students: the neoliberal economic policies being championed by the ANC government on behalf of the big corporations of the Minerals Energy Complex.

We call on working class and poor communities to join en masse the students’ protests for free education. It is through mass protests we can force those in power to concede to the demands of the students.

Finally, we call on the ANC / SACP government:
1. To accept the demand of the students for an immediate moratorium on fee increases. Zero per cent, not six per cent.

2. To end immediately all exclusions from tertiary institutions on the basis of failure to pay fees.

3. To put an end to the buying and selling of education and to deliver free public tertiary education for all those who qualify paid for by a tax on the rich.

4. To create decent jobs, including jobs for graduates, by nationalizing our strategic minerals and key strategic companies including the whole value chain of coal, manganese, iron ore, chrome, and vanadium.

They must be beneficiated to create jobs for the majority who are not part of the labour market.

Castro Ngobese
National Spokesperson
M: 083 627 5197