The Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) is angered but unsurprised, by recent statements made by ANC Youth League (ANCYL) President, Collen Maine, about #FeesMustFall, calling the student movement “treasonous” and the actions of its members “counter-revolutionary.” DASO therefore calls on Collen Maine to retract his comments that are disproportionate and out of touch with the frustration of the youth.
This comes after students both last year and earlier this year united in protest under the banner of #FeesMustFall to voice their dissatisfaction with the way in which South Africa’s higher education is currently being funded and which saw thousands deserving of tertiary education unable to access it due to the funding shortfall.
DASO does not agree with the acts of violence that erupted during the #FeesMustFall protests, but we also know that these actions were carried out by a select few who were incited to act violently in an attempt to discredit the movement and its message.
The DA does not condone violence and damage to property in any form or at any time. However we contend that Maine’s comments about the student movement demonstrate that he is out of touch with the plight of the youth by calling for disproportionate action to be taken instead of meaningfully addressing the concerns of many frustrated students. These are the rumblings of an ANCYL who has been commissioned to defend Higher Education Minister, Blade Nzimande, who has failed to provide swift resolve in this regard.
The ANC Youth League has become a retirement village for ANC cadres from various party-political university organisations. It should be on the side of the students who are legitimately protesting for a better future. The youth league and its leaders are at risk of becoming completely irrelevant due to a lack of understanding of key issues facing the country’s students. While members of the ANC-aligned Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) and the South African Students Congress (SASCO) have been advocating the rights of students, their leaders were holding a press conference condemning their actions.
Driving a robust conversation about the problems facing students is an important process. DASO will therefore continue to hold government accountable for the disregard of higher education. As such, DASO has launched the #WTF campaign, demanding Minister Nzimande to answer the question Where’s The Funding?