Buti Manamela’s address to protesting students at Wits – Wits is not an exclusive club for the super rich and wealthy students!

Category: Speeches

5 October 2007

Viva YCL Viva! Viva SASCO Viva! Viva ANC YL Viva! Amandla!

The Young Communist League fully supports this protest by the students at Wits University! As the YCL we are with you (students)until your demands are met by the Varsity Management. When we liberated this country we did not liberate it so that few students will have access to education.

When we liberated this country we did not liberate it so that few coconuts and snobs will take decisions which are against us.

The actions of the Management shows that they want this University to be an exclusive Club for the super rich and wealthy students. It also shows that Management wants to deny the majority of students their basic right and access to education.

It is unfortunate that those who are most affected are students from the working class and the poor communities. We will fight this decision by management to impose fee increment and their intentions to privatise students residences. We do not understand why they will want to privatise whereas privatisation has failed elsewhere.

We know the miseries that privatization brings. It brings retrenchments. It brings increased fees in terms of residences. It rationalizes our meals. This will be done as the new bosses, whether from a public or a private company, seek to line up their bottomless pockets to suck the little that we are left with. We say no to privatization in all its hidden or open forms. We will call on the public sector unions to join in on your action to stop the PIC from investing in Wits as the profits made from these investments will be blood money.

We hear that they want to turn one of our residences into a Three Star Hotel. Is Wits in Business? No! Wits is a learning institution whose main aim is to produce graduates and not to be resident to some 2010 Tourists who will be seeking temporary self-gratification at the expense of our students. When the universities privatise our residences, where do they want us to sleep? Do they want us to sleep in the streets of Johannesburg and Braamfontein? Do they want us to become future criminals and prostitutes.

As the YCL we are an Internationalist organisation and which subscribes to the principle of Internationalism. For us a youth from Angola, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Gambia is no different from us. Because we are all the same. A youth from Angola, Nigeria,Zimbabwe and Swaziland must have equal access to education just like us as South African youth. We are thefore opposed to the increase of more than 400% in terms of fees to be paid by students from these countries.

It is therefore despicable and hypocritical that Wits University which prides itself with the so called African Renaissance notion wants to exclude and deny access our brothers and sisters from the continent access to education.

Students residences are not Resort Hotels for tourists. Students residences are an essential necessity for better education for students. We are therefore against the privatisation of students residences. Students residences must remain in the hands of the Varsity and continue to be provided to students at a reasonable and affordable fee.

It is despicable that when we strike for genuine and legitimate demands, instead of Management listening to our reasonable demands their bring police to interfere and shoot at us. We want to say to the police we can handle and look after ourselves without they interference.

We also want want to say to them that this Varsity is not a shooting range practice place. We don’t want them here and they are not welcomed. It is only incapable management that will invite police on campus to help them with the management of the institutions.

Amandla! Forward to free education Forward!

For more information contact: Castro Ngobese @ 082 567 3557 (National Spokesperson)