ANCYL raises student funds
AS THE country fears renewed student strikes in reaction to universities’ move to increase fees, the ANC Youth League in the eThekwini region has been raising funds for poor students.
The league’s regional secretary, Thinta Cibane, said yesterday that they raised R1 million with a business breakfast in Durban last month. Cibane said the ANCYL was raising funds to avert student protest action at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Durban University of Technology (DUT) and Mangosuthu University of Technology.
DUT students said they had received SMSes over the holidays informing them that tuition and resident fees would each be raised by 8 percent.
“The R1 million is already there. We fund-raised it during a business breakfast held on December 21. During the breakfast we raised R650 000 cash to assist with registration,” said Cibane. He said most of the R1m would be spent registering university students.
“Through our analysis, we have established that strikes at the beginning of last year happens as a result of students who could not register,” Cibane added.
He said the ANCYL would engage Durban businesses, especially those listed on the JSE, to support poor students.
Several big businesses had been approached to assist with more registration fees, and later with bursaries and scholarships, Cibane added. But if targeted businesses failed to comply, he said: “We will mobilise young people to stop the production.”
The ANCYL is concerned by the proposal from DUT, as well as UKZN, to raise fees by 8 percent, which could prompt violent protests at universities by those associated with the #FeesMustFall campaign, whose aim “is to overthrow the state”.
“We do believe that #FeesMustFall is being used by opposition parties, in particular the EFF, to try to gain ground,” Cibane said. “The free education is a genuine call, but these parties want to abuse it to try to score cheap political points.”
Cibane said that to avert the possible destruction of university property, the ANCYL would lead the strikes and free education campaigns, because they were opposed to a blanket call for free education, which would lead to privileged students also benefiting.
“We believe in free education for the poor because it does not make sense that Johann Rupert’s child would benefit from free education for all. Rupert does have money, therefore we don’t agree with the direction of the #FeesMustFall,” he said.
Cibane said many businesses in Durban do pay for social responsibility, but the ANCYL could not establish how that money was spend.
“We need to be able to keep stock of social responsibility funds. We don’t want to hear there are 50 bursaries that could not be accounted for. We want to know where those bursaries have gone,” he said.
Cibane believes that since Durban-based businesses make billions of rand every day, the city should be closer to providing for free education.
“We are willing to be confrontational if things are not being done, even if it means factories must be closed down to get the attention of the business owners,” he said. “We will march along with the students because free education is a demand.”
The EFF Student Command chairman at DUT, Gazuzu Nduli, said the strikes would continue when the institution reopen.
“We have no intention to destroy property, as our only intention is to shut down operations, but anything can happened when police and security guards provoke us,” he added.