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ANCYL Constitution: as amended and adopted by the 25th National Congress September 2015
Hlomelang: Vol. 13 No. 1: 25 July  07 August 2016
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Statement following a meeting between Provincial Chairpersons and ANCYL President

6 October 2016

The ANC Youth League President and Provincial Chairpersons have convened an urgent meeting to address the current issues afflicting our institutions of higher learning which is known as Fees Must Fall.

The ANC Youth League reiterates its earlier stated position as well as its congress resolution that of calling for the full implementation of free education. We are particularly impatient on the implementation of free education because from the 2007 Polokwane Conference as well as the 2012 Mangaung conference of the ANC have not only called for free education but the Mangaung Conference has put in place timeframes in which this matter should have been addressed.

Whilst we welcome the intervention of the President on establishing a commission on fees, we believe that the decision to establish that commission itself was as a result of rolling mass actions that have started last year and have intensified this year. We believe that had the Manguang resolutions on free education and its timeframes been adhered to, the situation currently taking place could have been avoided. It remains our view that a moratorium on fee increments should remain in placed until the commission completes its mission, we have called for the Minister of Higher Education to halt the announcement of the 8% cap and instead continue with the 0% arrangement until the commission concludes its work, the Minister after consultation continued to make this announcement. Whilst we applaud the attempt to "cushion" the missing middle on this matter, we believe that this discussion should have been ongoing and we believe the timing of the announcement could have been halted.

We wish to reiterate our stance that we are in full support of the student's demands, we believe that the demands ae genuine and must be listened to, we also agree with the students that education is a societal matter, this is why we resorted not to politicize the situation and attempt to "hijack" this genuine struggle of the students. Our approach is to march alongside the students and not take over their struggles, over the next few days we will be deploying our leadership at all levels led by the ANCYL President to march alongside the students, ours is not to take over podiums. We continue to call for a peaceful march for free education and we condemn the destruction of property and the burning of libraries as well as the violence that characterize this process. The burning and destruction of property undermines the genuine struggle of students, we call on the police to also exercise restraint and not use excessive force of brutality.

We call for the release of the arrested students and the lifting of suspension for students who were part of this struggle, we believe that this matter requires a dialogue. Students are not criminals but legitimate social agents yearning for free education.

The meeting of the ANCYL President and Provincial Chairpersons agreed on the following framework going forward:

  • We will meet the President of the Country within the next few days to discuss our concerns about the commission and the ongoing impasse
  • We will approach the private sector in the JSE to fund education, we will call on the taxation of the wealthy to fund education.
  • We will be marching to Treasury to demand proper budgeting for education we feel that the Minister alone cannot be responsible alone but Treasury must come on board
  • We call for the scrapping of application form fees, we believe application forms must be easily and freely accessible
  • We will call for a legislation to revise Institutional Autonomy because Universities shift the blame to Government when faced with challenges but claim autonomy when government intervenes
  • We will convene an Education Summit, we will invite all SRC's, stakeholders and society to come under one roof to find sustainable solutions to this matter. We believe that for a developmental state education become an important pillar therefore these issues must be attended to as a matter of urgency

We will soon engage with our PYA structures to also find a common approach on this matter, this must never be a competition amongst ourselves but a common approach, society demands free education and we agree and want it now.

ISSUED BY

Mlondi Mkhize
National Spokesperson
African National Congress Youth League