The chickens have come home to roost and the time to deliver on the promise of free education has arrived.
The IFP Youth Brigade fully supports the students movement that has swept across the country as students of all walks life have come together to fight a worthy cause: The #FeesMustFall!
Our democratic rights are not for sale to be sold to those with deep pockets leaving the poor, struggling and vulnerable languishing in a socio-economic wilderness without hope and progress in life and unable to contribute to South Africa’s economic growth and development because they do not have the money to buy education.
Education is not a commodity; but rather a national imperative for growth and development of South Africa and therefore every effort must be pursued to ensure that all stumbling blocks and bottle necks are removed and allow young South Africans access to learn.
We cannot, accept in good faith and conscience, as a Nation accept that a vital tool such as education which South Africans rely on to work their way out of poverty will become a fiefdom of the elite because they have money.
The IFP Youth Brigade calls for free education from Grade 1 up to and including the first degree or diploma.
The time has come to overhaul and revamp the funding models of Institutions of Higher Learning, namely the subsidies and the Nsfas. Funds must follow functions not individuals and therefore in this regard Nsfas must be remodelled such it subsidises institutions and not students on an individual basis.
Further discussion on funding is needed, and in the interim all proposed fee increments across the country must be stopped.
The silence of the Minister of Higher Education and Training is deafening; and a lack of leadership, on his part, during a time of crisis such as this cannot go by unchallenged.
The IFP Youth Brigade calls on Minister Bonginkosi Blade Nzimande to do the honourable thing and resign. His current failure to provide leadership is part of a broader failure on his part since his appointment in 2009 to sort out the problems in the higher education sector.
Minister Nzimande leads a political grouping which refuses to contest elections and have its ideas and policies tested by the electorate; and thus Mr Nzimande is at odds with the wishes and realities of the people because he has been parachuted into the position he occupys.
The ANC-led government promised free education and it is now time to deliver.
The IFP Youth Brigade condemns in the strongest possible terms the brutal use of the police to silence the students. We call for calm, restraint and peaceful protest; and measured and reasonable reactions from management and the police.