Student leaders reject Zuma’s task team

2016-10-12 20:49
 Mcebo Dlamini (File, City Press)

Mcebo Dlamini (File, City Press)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories


What happens to NSFAS loans if varsities shutdown?

2016-10-04 04:30

NSFAS spokesperson Tshepiso Mamabolo discusses student funds.WATCH

Johannesburg – The ministerial task team President Jacob Zuma set up to look into the crisis in higher education was an attempt to avoid dealing with the real crisis, some student leaders said on Wednesday.

"He can’t go around establishing task teams and commissions, when all we want is free education. At this rate he will set up a commission for a mere pothole," University of Limpopo student leader Isaac Hlungwana said.

Zuma was avoiding dealing with the real issues and honestly engaging students’ demands, he said.

Former University of the Witwatersrand SRC president Mcebo Dlamini said he could not take the task team seriously.

"It’s just another joke, another comedy by the government. You still have the fees commission, now he sets up a fees task team," Dlamini told News24.

Zuma announced on Tuesday that a ministerial task team, comprising home affairs, state security, police, defence, planning and monitoring, and justice had been set up to help Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande resolve the impasse at universities.

Dlamini said universities were on fire and Zuma wanted to conduct investigations and establish commissions.

"Here you need an executive decision, someone needs to lead."

Students on campuses around the country began protesting on September 19, after Nzimande announced universities could decide their own fee increases for 2017. They had to be capped at 8% and poor students and those on government loans would not have to pay the increases.

Protesters, however, wanted the immediate implementation of free tertiary education.

Pravin Gordhan's absence 'worrying'

Student leaders said Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan’s absence from the task team was worrying.

University of KwaZulu-Natal deputy SRC president Sunshine Nyende said it made no sense for the security cluster to be part of the task team.

Dlamini rejected Nzimande’s claims, in an interview with eNCA, that students were not demanding free education, but calling for Zuma and his Cabinet to step down, because the EFF was involved in the demonstrations.

He said students had never made such calls.

"His statements are dangerous, a man running away from reality. He just wants to divert attention from the real issues to discuss irrelevant things. It is just sad," Dlamini said.

Meanwhile, suspended Vaal University of Technology SRC president Troy Mathebula said he was stunned to hear about the task team through the media. It was an indication that the team would resolve nothing.

"We have to be constantly consulted on ways forward," he said.

'It shows their failure to listen'

Mathebula also questioned why Gordhan was left out of the task team. He said Nzimande told student leaders in January that Gordhan needed to resolve issues.

University of Pretoria's former SRC president Rassie Rasethaba said Zuma’s announcement was disingenuous and surprising.

"It shows their failure to listen. They seem to have an attitude that students are irrational, non-thinkers and therefore we must exclude them. This is very problematic."

Wits anthropology lecturer Kelly Gillespie said it was clear from the task team’s composition that government was choosing militarisation over the provision of free education.

She felt government was failing to see how students responded to increased security at higher learning institutions. The only way to resolve the current crisis was by addressing structural causes and government’s underfunding of higher education.

"We have had to cut down on tutorial programmes. We don’t even drink tea at meetings, yet students still have to cover for the shortfall through increased tuition."


Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Competition regulation for a growing and inclusive economy

ADVERTORIAL: The Competition Commission of South Africa is conducting advocacy work in the South African automotive aftermarket industry and has gazetted a Draft Code of Conduct for public comment.


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

6 myths about male cancer
Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.