THE South African Student’s Congress (SASCO) in Limpopo has denounced EFF leader Julius Malema’s growing calls for qualifying students to take advantage of President Jacob Zuma’s fee free tertiary education announcement by invading institutions of higher learning.
Sasco provincial chairperson Tokologo Mphahlele said that Malema’s utterances are reckless and “an attempt to score cheap political points”.
“As Sasco, we have been very clear and unequivocal that it must be that our prospective students are given a fair chance to be able to be included in the category of late application. We understand that this processes will be met by some populists, but our call is coupled with the proper alignment of applying in an orderly way not the other way that some populist leaders have been suggesting” Mphahle said.
Mphahlele accused Malema and other EFF leaders of continuously targeting institutions as their primary place of “anarchy and chaos” since the parties introduction in the political landscape. “The student movement condemns with utter disgust reckless utterances by EFF leader. This attempt to score cheap political points must be rejected with the contempt it deserves.”
Speaking on a local radio in Polokwane early this week, Malema repeated his calls, saying that he lead the charge by going to ‘walk in’ at Wits and register for his Master’s Degree.
His calls come after President Zuma announced a free education for first year students on the opening day of the ANC national conference Johannesburg on December 16. The move was seen in some quarters as an attempt to influence delegates to vote in favour of his preferred presidential candidate, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who subsequently lost to Cyril Ramaphosa.
“If they say there is a problem with infrastructure then no one must go on until it is solved. There will be no successful attempt to sideline black children from education,” Malema said.
“Let us rather confront the issue of infrastructure post admitting students. University of Limpopo has vast lands that they can develop. If we take in students and inform government of infrastructure, government will respond.”
He said the South African Council of Churches (SACC) supported the motion that children who qualify should not be turned away and his party will engage the government soon. The EFF upped the ante this week when its student wing, the EFF Student Command (EFFSC), took its grievances to the doors of the Higher Education Ministry. It demanded that all universities allow “walk-in” students and bring back students who have been expelled or suspended for leading student protests.
Surprisingly, Malema’s “walk in” calls were highly backed by Sasco’s sister organization, the Congress of South African Students (COSAS) in the province.
Cosas said it viewed the announcement by institutions that no walk in applicants will be accepted as “premature”.
“Let’s go all out to these institutions to occupy the learning curve. If it means we will be doing it with anarchy, its fine, like no one is blocking us to push each other in doors of liquor stores; no one shall succeed in stopping us from pushing each other in doors of Universities.”
Tlangelani Manganye, Sasco provincial secretary told African Times that Cosas statement backing Malema’s ‘action plan’ came as a shock to the student movement.