Free Higher Education a Fairy Tale Sold to Young People by ANC Government

ActionSA Youth conveys its deepest condolences to the family of the man who was killed by the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Braamfontein during the WITS students’ #asinamali protest.

We call on IPID to fast track its investigation on those police officers. They must be charged and prosecuted as soon as possible. We condemn, in the strongest terms, the senseless killings and the unnecessarily excessive use of force against people exercising their constitutionally protected right to protest. Young people cannot still be fighting to affirm this right 27 years into democracy.

We note that all of this could have been avoided if the successive ANC-led government did not sell young people of South Africa a fairy tale dream called “Free Education” which they could not deliver and then, when they are exposed for this, unleash a violent Police force against unarmed peaceful protestors.

We believe free education for the poor would be feasible if the ANC government would sensibly reprioritize spending and grow our economy to support increases priorities of this magnitude. We, as young people of South Africa, are the future. Prioritizing and investing in our education is an investment in this future and, frankly, non-negotiable when over 60% of young people are without work.

We are disappointed at the measures taken by President Ramaphosa’s ANC-led government as it relates to the Higher education and Training sector. We deem budget cuts to DHET of R24.6 Billion and R6.8 Billion directly to NSFAS is a spit on the faces of young South Africans who were sold dreams that free education was achieved in 2017 – when the former President made a last-ditch attempt to swing the ANC’s internal election in favour of his faction.

All of this is in the midst of the students’ fire, where historical debts still remain a daunting factor for many students that cannot receive results and certifications, where students are accepted and only certain allowances are paid because the relevant institutions have not paid for the students.

We will be writing to the President, the Minister of DHET and NSFAS to demand answers on issues relating to financial implications of Covid19 expenditure in Universities and propose the reallocation of funds from these failed and SOE’s. Failure to respond adequately to our enquiry we will call on all young people to unite and march to the Union Buildings with students and relevant student organisations.

Amid this fight, we want to call on all student organisations, unemployed graduates and youth at large to join forces with us in moving for greater success for young people now and in the next generation for accessible education.

We, as youth of ActionSA, avail ourselves to like-minded young people to devise a way forward for all young people in the country.

A prosperous future for us all is within reach and we will not allow it to be stolen from us by people whose best years are long behind them. For young people to prosper the ANC must be in opposition.