ANCYL raises stu­dent funds

The Star Early Edition - - LIFESTYLE VERVE - BON­GANI HANS

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.

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