Biko and Hani would salute students today – Malema

2016-10-14 05:56
FILE: EFF leader Julius Malema arrives for a Youth Day rally in Limpopo.

FILE: EFF leader Julius Malema arrives for a Youth Day rally in Limpopo.

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Johannesburg – Students must continue with their shut down of tertiary institutions until free education is provided by the government, said the EFF on Thursday.

The political party, which held a media briefing at its headquarters to discuss the current study fee protests, a fraud charge being levelled against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and outgoing Public Protector Thuli Madonsela's state capture report, threw its support behind the students, saying they were on the right path.

However, EFF leader Julius Malema also shared his thoughts on just how impossible it would be to attain what the students are yearning for under the current leadership in South Africa.

"No way is this government going to listen because the reality is that it has collapsed and no one knows what is happening. We are on autopilot. There is no leadership; neither do we have brains sitting around trying to figure out how and where we are going to find money," said Malema.

The current wave of protests was sparked by an announcement by Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande of his proposed study fee adjustments for the 2017 academic year. Although he placed an 8% cap on hikes and excluded poor students and those on government loans from the increases, his suggestion has been widely rejected with students across universities in the country calling for the immediate implementation of free quality higher education.

Malema also hit out at those who say that while they empathise with the cause they are bothered by the levels of violence at institutions of higher learning and the destruction of public property. Malema said critics had no right to tell students how to protest.

'Vice chancellors should join students'

"Elitist criticism of students must come to an end, you don't know what you are talking about, you have never been at the picket lines. There is no formula to engage in a revolution," said the EFF commander-in-chief.

"We are proud of our students. They must continue to soldier on. Wherever Steve Biko is, Chris Hani and them, they are saluting this generation because this generation is continuing with exactly what Chris Hani fought for." 

He singled out University of Witwatersrand vice chancellor Adam Habib, accusing him of behaving as if he were responsible for providing free education to students.

"VCs [vice chancellors] should be joining students, VCs see how they are struggling, how hungry they are for education but are deprived because they cannot afford it. You are behaving as if it's a battle against you, it's not."

Malema also addressed comments laying the blame for the protests on his 3-year-old party, including some made by the minister of higher education. Earlier this week Nzimande told eNCA that the EFF was responsible for some of the protests and that they were not about free education but a call for President Jacob Zuma and his Cabinet to step down.

"They are hoping we will distance ourselves, we won't. Our lawyers are ready working day in and day out representing students and encouraging them to go back to the picket lines," Malema said.

Read more on:    eff  |  julius malema  |  university fees

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