EFF Students Demand Statement on CEOs Playing “Mandlwana” While Students Fight For Accommodation

The EFF Students Command strongly condemns the romanticisation of poverty by CEOs in Johannesburg through their extremely patronising and violent #CEOSleepOut2016.

The EFF Students Command holds a very strong view that what these CEOs claim to be a charity event is in fact, rich people who could make a huge difference in this country running away from confronting real issues such as landlessness, dispossession and inequality and spitting on the faces of the downtrodden instead.

It is no secret that most of the companies from which these CEOs come from are built and maintained by exploiting our people and keeping them poor.

A more noble cause worth celebrating would have been CEOs taking a unanimous decision to give their workers a fair minimum wage, ensure all their workers have similar benefits to them and radically changing the working conditions under which their workers work.

It would have also been applaudable had these CEOs pledged and joined the Wits students who were fighting a genuine cause a few metres from them instead of playing “mandlwana” and parading expensive windbreakers.

The accommodation crisis in South Africa does not only affect communities but institutions of higher learning as well. Over the years students have been sleeping in libraries, toilets, computer labs and lecture halls after coming to institutions of higher learning with big dreams only to be turned into hobos. Vulnerable hobos that are then exploited by private student accommodation providers such as South Point.

Wits students have since the beginning of the week, been protesting against South Point’s ridiculous fees despite housing mostly NSFAS recipients and it being wholly owned by the government. Almost 60% of South Point’s shares belong to the Public Investments Corporation (PIC), a government entity.

The EFF Students’ Command therefore calls on CEOs to support these students’ demands if they are genuinely concerned about the poor.

We further call on the community of Braamfontein and the broader public to support these students and together with us condemn the use of ANC sponsored state force to silence genuine struggles.

We are certain Wits Comrades and students remain unshaken and not only will their fight continue but it will fuel other students across the country to fight against greedy landlords and compel institutions of higher learning to ensure adequate and affordable accommodation for all.