“We are going to shut down all institutions until that free education is realised.”
That was the strong message from a very disappointed president of the SA Union of Students (SAUS) Avela Mjajubana shortly after SAUS’s first appearance in front of the Commission of Inquiry into Higher Education and Training (the Fees Commission) in Pretoria.
Mjajubana and his executive committee were upset because the commission did not ask them questions after submitting their presentation on free and quality education for all in South Africa.
“We are actually disappointed with the work of the commission. We are going to call a national executive committee meeting and if possible we are going to shut down all institutions until that free education is realised.
“We will be engaging with all students, we will be engaging with political student organisations, even with COSAS (The Congress of South African Students) from the basic education level. They must be able to take part in the struggle for free education.
“We will marry with everyone that comes to the front and say let’s take the baton on and fight for free education,” Mjajubana said.
He was echoed by SAUS deputy secretary general Fasiha Hassan.
Hassan said they were very disappointed that the commission did not engage them at all. “We have fundamental concerns with the fact that today that we have now been told there might be another follow up meeting which is clearly a deliberate attempt to delay the work of the commission.
“We reject any delays. The fact of the matter is that our institutions of higher learning are in a volatile space. The need for free and quality education is an urgent one,” she said.
She said they could not go back to their constituencies and their students with nothing.
“If that means we do need to shut down, that we do need to again prove the power of students, we will do so,” she told reporters.