Monday, 26 October 2015

United Front Statement on #FeesMustFall



25th October 2015

UNITED FRONT PRESS STATEMENT
SOLIDARITY AND VICTORY TO THE STUDENT STRUGGLES FOR FREE EDUCATION!

Friday 23rd October 2015 will go down as one of the most significant moments in the history of post-Apartheid South Africa as the student mobilization around #FeesMustFall campaign won two important gains 
·      Zero Fees Increases for the 2016 Academic year.
·      The postponement of exams to accommodate students.
The United Front salutes the students for their unrelenting fighting spirit that has resulted in the resounding victory!  While these gains are partial and does not solve the underlying question of a neo-liberal-based education system, it was hard fought for and literally forced out of the capitalist ANC government and their University managers. The determination and resoluteness of the students struggle has taught many lessons and has challenged not only the education system but the entire edifice of the capitalist system.  The most important lesson from the students has been that unity and mass struggle is the main weapon in the hands of the oppressed, and it works for us!  These struggles have brought the democratic dispensation of 1994 directly into focus and students across the country are questioning the false and rotten basis of this compromise which merely accommodated the aspirant black bourgeois to the table of white monopoly capital.                                                                               

This victory is the first decisive step towards FREE QUALITY EDUCATION!
THE STRUGGLE FOR FREE QUALITY EDUCATION CONTINUES. While these gains have been a major step in the fight against austerity, the market orientation of higher education remains and perpetuates inequalities in society. These neo-liberal elements include privatisation, outsourcing, competitiveness, user-fees, racism, patriarchy and managerialism. Even without the fee increase university education remains unaffordable for most students!

#FEES MUST FALL                                                                                                                                 

Parents have been struggling to meet the high university academic and residential fees which caused many of them to become hugely indebted to the banks and moneylenders.  The fight for free quality educationwas part and parcel of our struggle to overthrow Apartheid. Twenty one years later we still do not have free education. The government says it is too expensive to pay for this. This is a lie because it would cost the government an extra R71 billion to provide 800 000 students with free tuition. This money is already there!  R80 billion is lost every year through illegal money flows – clampdown on this corruption!  Big business has cash piles of R1, 35 trillion – tax the super-rich and corporations to educate the poor!                                                                                                                                                          Corruption must fall!  Tax the Rich to educate the poor! 

#FREE QUALITY EDUCATION NOW

The moratorium on fee increases was a means to bring an end to the student protests and benefits only those who can afford them. In fact many ‘No Fee Increases’ have been won in previous years by students at campus level. However being forced to step down in public before the entire nation represents a major defeat for the ruling class. This has emboldened the students and laid the foundation for heroic further battles, the struggle for Free Quality Education. The attempt to stall the process and channel it into governmental and ministerial commissions will not succeed as the crisis of education is part of the systemic crisis of the entire capitalist system.  As university exams approach there will be a drop in student activity, but this will be but till January when the question of paying registration fees arises.  Students must prepare for these big battles ahead by strengthening their organisations and mobilisation of the entire mass of students. This moment also calls for the widest mobilisation of solidarity with the students across the board – high school learners, unemployed youth, parents, workers and their trade unions, school teachers, progressive religious organisations and broader civil society. The United Front will contribute to building this solidarity with the students. 

Forward to the struggle for Free Quality Education Now! 
STUDENTS CONTINUE TO MOBILISE AND ORGANISE FOR THE COMING BATTLES!
BUILD STRONG STUDENT-WORKER ALLIANCES!
LET THE SPIRIT OF JUNE 1976 BECOME THE DRIVING FORCE FOR THE FIGHT FOR FREE QUALITY EDUCATION FOR ALL IN 2016!
FORWARD TO THE FINAL VICTORY OF THE STUDENT STRUGGLE!
ALUTA CONTINUA! 

ENDS 

FOR COMMENTS, CONTACT: 
1.    Shaheen Khan – National Committee member: 082 375 9408
2.    Mazibuko K. Jara – Interim National Secretary, 083 987 9633
3.    John Appolis – Interim Campaigns Coordinator, 071 623 5996
4.    Dinga Sikwebu – National Coordinator, 078 457 9855