'Lazy' Sasco using high schoolers for Fees Must Fall – Cosas

2016-08-16 19:36
Police on guard during the student protests. (Tina Hsu, News24)

Police on guard during the student protests. (Tina Hsu, News24)

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Johannesburg – The Congress of SA Students (Cosas) is claiming that the SA Students Congress (Sasco) dragged school children into Fees Must Fall demonstrations without getting consent from their parents or from Cosas. 

Khulekani Skosana, the secretary general of Cosas, has lashed out at his more senior counterparts for allegedly failing to communicate a clear message on how to deal with the uncertainty around fee increments, which he believes is the reason why some Sasco branches are ferrying high school learners to demonstrations and using them to beef up their protests without consulting Cosas.

"We condemn lazy leaders of Sasco, who can't mobilise and use school children as a shadow so they can appear on TV," Skosana said.

A handful of learners, some still dressed in school uniform, were dropped-off outside the University of Johannesburg's Doornfontein campus. They joined university students who were singing, armed with placards demanding a 0% fee increase in 2017.

"Don't use poor minors without the consent of their parents."

Sasco's secretary general Tembani Makata said the organisation would like to believe its members would not have acted without being granted permission by Cosas.

"I don't think our members would go to a high school and just fetch school children. I think it was co-ordinated with the province. Cosas should be asking its own leaders questions, not us," she said.

'What are CEO's doing?'

Police have been deployed to universities in the country and private security has been increased on campuses amidst threats by some student organisations of a national shutdown should Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande announce a fee hike this month.

Nzimande was expected to pronounce on study fee adjustments last week but cancelled to allow further for consultation.

Cosas also decried the destruction of property during fee protests, explaining that when buildings were set on fire poor students were set back further.

"You often see learners under a tree or in mud schools, when they make demands they don't burn those. They understand that they are taking themselves back," Skosana said.

He said Sasco was unfairly targeting Nzimande. The young leader said President Jacob Zuma's decision to put a moratorium on fee increases in 2016 was a sign that government is listening and cares about the plight of students in the country.

"Focus should be on the private sector. What are CEO's doing?" asked Skosana.

Cosas plans to march to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange over this issue at the end of August.

Read more on:    sasco  |  cosas  |  education  |  university fees

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