Godi gives students support
Senior MP backs picketing Parliament
A HIGH-RANKING member of Parliament has stepped into the fray between students and the CPUT administration and advised them to confront their new chancellor, Thandi Modise, in Parliament.
Themba Godi, chairperson of the standing committee on public accounts, was addressing a student meeting at the university’s Cape Town campus yesterday.
He encouraged students to arrange either a picket of Parliament or a meeting with Modise, the National Council of Provinces chairperson, to discuss the issues affecting students and workers.
“Collectively, you must tell your chancellor, in Parliament, what it is that you want,” he said.
Godi stressed that the struggles of students and outsourced workers could not be separated.
Free tertiary education needed to be implemented because otherwise working class families would find themselves “in an endless relay race” of poverty.
“So the socio- economic power relations engineered by the white minority rule will continue endlessly without any change.”
Last month, Student Representative Council (SRC) chairperson Ayakha Magxothwa, alongside three other student leaders, was suspended by the the university for “conducting themselves unlawfully”, among other charges.
Yesterday’s meeting came after clashes between students and security guards at the City Edge residence on Thursday.
Student leaders who refused to be named for fear of action by the university, said their grievances included the reinstatement of a system of financial exclusion; the university’s demand for upfront payments from students; and victimising students who raised issues.
Workers said they wanted to be insourced and that CPUT needed to stick to agreements. They said the logos in their pay slips had suddenly changed from that of CPUT to a private company.
Godi said he supported the concept of free education.
The arrangement of NSFAS,the government funding scheme f was temporary. “It’s not a solution. The only solution is free education, which must be qualitative and decolonised.”
Addressing workers, Godi said the reason universities had not insourced entirely was because government leaders had business interests in outsourced companies. One example was a campaign manager of presidential hopeful Cyril Ramaphosa, who owned a university-outsourced company.
Godi promised to approach the Department of Higher Education and Training.
‘NSFAS is not
He urged the students and workers not to relent in their struggle. “Students must never betray the workers in pursuit of their own interests because you will betray them (in the corporate sector) too.”
Addressing the mass meeting, Magxothwa made Bible references, likened himself to Jesus and said: “Suspended or not suspended, I’m still the father of this house.”
He remained the chairman of the SRC and would continue his fight for free education. CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said she could not discuss Magxothwa’s case as it was sub judice. She rejected claims by the workers that they had been outsourced. Kansley said the clash on Thursday between students and security guards at the City Edge residence had caused “limited damage”.