Foreigners must contribute to free education – PYA

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The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) is calling for “foreigners” who own shops in townships to contribute to free education in exchange for the right to operate.

The PYA – made up of the ANC Youth League, Sasco, Cosas and the Young Communist League – was addressing members of the media this afternoon at a press conference in Luthuli House regarding the current fees crisis.

Following last year’s decision to suspend fee hikes at universities across the country, there is now a renewed call for 2017 fee increments to be scrapped.

The PYA has changed tactics and are now placing the onus on big business and others outside of government to play their part in bringing about free education.

“As Cosas we want to lead the charge to the Joburg Stock Exchange to confront the owners of the means of production, to contribute to the realisation of free education in South Africa for the poor,” Cosas general secretary Khulekani Skosana said.

“We are challenging all South Africans. When you see a lot of floods in South Africa you will see South Africans donating so that life continues. So we are saying that ordinary South Africans must donate and assist students to go to schools. We are also saying that foreigners who own shops in our townships must contribute to free education as a condition for having businesses in our communities.”

The Department of Higher Education is currently stuck between a rock and a hard place.

They must decide whether to bow to student pressure and offer another 0% increase or to convince universities to increase fees by 6-8%.

The PYA emphasised that no shutdown was on the cards while discussions were underway regarding what should happen.

The department will make the announcement by the end of the month. In the meantime they are engaging various stakeholders on the way forward.

“We are confident in saying now that it is time we mobilise our battalions and we confront the JSE and get answers. We no longer want FNB stadium, we want FNB University. We have to take the battle to the right place,” Skosana said.

ANCYL secretary-general Njabulo Nzuza also emphasised that the ANC NEC had resolved at a special sitting last week that there should be no fee increment next year and this had been communicated to government.

Walter Sisulu University has been the only university to heed the South African Union of Students call to shutdown institutions. Protesters today clashed with police in a second day of shutdown.

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