During the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) voter registration campaign launch at the Standard Bank Arena on Sunday, the president of the party’s student command, Peter Keetse, said the organisation should target half of the student votes during the 2019 elections.
“We will also make sure that from the students’ side, all of us, the population of about 2 million students, we will make sure that at least a million comes to the votes of EFF,” Keetse said.
He urged party members to ensure that young people register to vote, and said the organisation was guaranteed a victory in the elections next year.
Keetse called on the party’s leadership in parliament to question the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) on why it had pardoned apartheid state crimes but has not done the same for students who face legal action for their involvement in fees must fall protest action.
“Comrade Khaya [Cekeshe] is serving eight years in prison because he felt the need that young people must study for free,” Keetse said.
Malusi Gigaba, serving as finance minister before the cabinet reshuffle last week, announced during the 2018 budget speech that over the next three years, the country’s spending framework will include R57 billion which will be added to the baseline of the Department of Higher Education and Training. This money will go for fee-free tertiary education and training for students from households earning less than R350 000 a year.
“Comrade Amla [Amos Monageng] in Tshwane is serving a house arrest because he fought against Afrikaans tirelessly in UP [University of Pretoria],” Keetse added.
Keetse said the task to pressure the NPA to pardon such student leaders should not only be the burden of the party’s leadership but the responsibilities of all rank and file members providing assistance with their relevant skill sets.
The general secretary, Godrich Gardee, said during an interview with the SABC that the party will set in motion mass mobilisation campaigns targeting young people.
“Out of the 26 million registered voters in South Africa, about 12 million are young people between the age of 18 and 35, and there is quite a lot of them who are not registered to vote. First time voters who are in grade 11, who are in grade 12, in TVETs, doing year one or year two in universities, and quite a number of young people in those institutions, we have to actually reach out to them.
“Even within the 12 million that is registered to vote, about three million of them have either incomplete addresses or actually, the address space is blank. They have to come to their voting stations in their nearest neighbourhood to update those details,” Gardee said.
The EFF is targeting a million voters in 2019 to win the elections.