Planned march to Union Buildings fueled by 3rd force says Sasco
The South African Students Congress in Gauteng said Friday’s mass student demonstration at the Union Buildings in Pretoria is being fueled by a third force.
Provincial chairperson Lwando Majiza said they had been reliably informed that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) was paying for buses to ferry students to the capital city for the march.
"The plan of tomorrow [Friday] is a plan that has been fueled and injected by a third force. We are aware of buses that have been paid for by Numsa and comrade [Zwelinzima] Vavi. We don’t want a situation where we have this genuine protest by students hijacked by people fighting their own," he said.
"All that the student organisations want to do is to express their concerns with management and government. Once we hear of ulterior interests, we get worried of student leaders that would want to advocate for a protest that is funded by a third force."
'If you want to take it there, we will go'
Majiza was part of the massive protest at the University of Pretoria where, for a second day, students took to the streets of Hatfield to demand the scrapping of proposed fee increments for 2016.
Students are not happy with the planned fee increases for 2016. According to the students, the institution plans to increase the registration fees from R5 000 to R7 500 for South African citizens.
And for students from SADC region countries, the registration fee has gone up from R5 000 to R20 000, while other international students face a whopping hike from R5 000 to R40 000.
While marching down the streets of Hatfield, students kept changing where they were supposed to turn. Others were demanding to go to the Union Buildings to deliver a memorandum. There was confusion when students got to Stanza Bopape (formerly Church Street) and Hilda Street when one group wanted to proceed to the Union Buildings and others turned towards the university.
Majiza said that while they were on the way, they realised that some student leaders had ulterior motives.
“We had decided to meet in campus and protest around Hatfield, but along the way students indicated they wanted to take the fight to the Union Buildings. We understand that students are their own liberators and we are satisfying them. [We said] If you want to take it there, we will go.
"As we were going, there were people who were given an undercover mandate that tried to create confusion, but we said instead of being confused, let us go back and talk it through.
"Our fight Is not only limited to the vice chancellors, it is also against the government. Deputy Minister Mduduzi Manana was already dispatched to receive our memorandum," he said.
'Possibility night vigil at Union Buildings'
Majiza said their mandate was to listen to the students. He said they were still planning the next step of the protest, but did not rule out the possibility marching to the Union Buildings. He said other universities would be joining.
"There is a possibility of having a night vigil at the Union Buildings. I know students from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) are having night vigil there, students from the University of Limpopo they are going there, Wits students are also going there. We feel that the silence of the president of the country is something that needs to be attended to,” said Majiza.
He added that the only thing they wanted from government was to force the universities not to increase the fees. He lashed out at the manner in which students were treated when they went to Parliament on Wednesday. Police used stun grenades and arrested a number of protesters.
"The only thing we want from government is to declare a moratorium over all fee increments, to expediently introduce free education. When government responds to students with the utmost brutality, it is something else to us.
We are not going to limit our fight; we will also take it to government. They met with vice chancellors without any student representation meaning the role of the major stakeholders does not matter," he said.