Saturday, October 24, 2015

SACP Province of Moses Kotane Statement on Fee Increases
The South African Communist Party (SACP) in the Province of Moses Kotane notes the onslaught driven in the media, among others by the Business Day, the mouthpiece of the most reactionary sections of the economic exploiters of the workers. In its editorial of yesterday, 21 October, the Business Day calls for "capping growth in spending", this in the midst of a major problem facing students from the working class and poor families who are not in a position to afford the sky-high university fee increases.

Today, the Business Day isolates Higher Education Minister Dr Blade Nzimande who is also SACP General Secretary as the Party's "deployee in government". This story is presented in a manner that leaves the impression that the Business Day consulted the SACP when it wrote the story, whereas this was not done for the paper to make the claim.

While he is the General Secretary of the SACP, Comrade Blade is a member of the ANC National Executive Committee and National Working Committee in his own right as a member of the ANC. He was democratically elected by ANC members to serve as a Member of Parliament in 1994, 2009 and 2014 and appointed the first Minister of Higher Education and Training since 2009.

Comrade Blade's election to Parliament and appointment to Cabinet cannot simplistically be surgically removed from his role and mandate as a member and leader of the ANC and be exclusively attributed to his membership and leadership role of the SACP. This divisive anti-communist strategy which is trying to steal the ongoing genuine struggle of the students against sky-high fee increases and derail it to a struggle against Comrade Blade as an individual will not be left unchallenged!

As the SACP in the Province of Moses Kotane, we take this in a serious light, and consider it a declaration of hostility regardless of who is involved in it.

The fact that the Department of Higher Education and Training which is led by Comrade Blade has not been allocated sufficient money to cover all the deserving students through student funding cannot be reduced to his creation. Neither is it acceptable to the SACP, and this should apply to the ANC as well, to attribute to Comrade Blade personally the constraints facing national revenue. Still, it is completely irrational to attribute the historical injustices and economic legacy of persisting high levels of inequality, unemployment and poverty - the triple crises that are behind the incapacity of many students to afford the fees charged by universities and colleges.

Any voices with our own movement that suggest otherwise are factional, and must be condemned in strongest terms possible, called to order and addressed decisively. Else the movement will become incoherent leading to other problems.

It is common knowledge that universities and colleges are autonomous institutions, that, according to this institutional autonomy, they make their own decisions independently of the Minister. It is foolhardy to be ignorant to the fact that the Minister was on several occasions taken to court by universities when he sought to intervene on the decisions these institutions made using their institutional autonomy. Only factionalism, mischievousness and a politics of a don't care oppositionism based on the lust for power can attribute decisions made by universities to the Minister.

Only a factionalist, mischievous politician and a counter-revolutionary oppositionist is blind to the fact that even the latest intervention by the Minister, ground-breaking as is - i.e. in the history of fee increases, to push universities to engage in consensus-seeking negotiations with students and not to increases any fees by more than the inflation rate is itself still limited because of institutional autonomy. The final decisions, in terms of the law of institutional autonomy, continues to rest with the structures within individual universities that are vested with authority on decision-making on this and other matters.

This is why, as the SACP, we are calling for a review of institutional autonomy to allow the government to deliver on its mandate to make higher education, technical and vocational training progressively accessible to all in terms of the principles of the Freedom Charter.

As the SACP in the Province of Moses Kotane, we are calling for a moratorium on fee increases until an amicable solution is reached.

The SACP congratulates Comrade Blade as the Higher Education and Training Minister for the work well-done since he was appointed to the responsibility as one of the most effective government leaders. His push for transformation is exactly the reason why racist conservatives and liberals in universities are pushing the current problem of fees increases away and want it to be substituted with by a reactionary struggle against him!

Issued by the SACP in the Province of Moses Kotane


Madoda Sambatha - SACP Provincial Secretary
Mobile - 072 198 5433

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