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ANC Youth League deputy president, Ronald Lamola, has hit out at academics and intellectuals who are critical of President Jacob Zuma, saying they did this only to attract media attention.
Speaking at DUT’s Indumiso campus outside Pietermaritzburg last night, Lamola singled out former anti-apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele, Free State University Vice-Chancellor Jonathan Jansen and political analyst Prince Mashele as leading what he said were unwarranted attacks on Zuma.
“Professor Jansen’s role is to wake up in the morning and look for what he can use to insult the sitting head of state so he can find himself on the front pages of newspapers.”
Jansen responded on Wednesday morning, saying he was “too busy running around raising finances for poor students to have time to respond to Mr Lamola”.
The youth leader also dismissed Mashele as a clown, saying his commentary was befitting a performance by a stand-up comedian.
“South African intellectuals believe that to be an intellectual you have to be critical of the government. Instead intellectuals should offer solutions. Even if you are critical that criticism should be constructive.”
Lamola also said major transformation of the higher education sector was needed.
He said the government should channel more funds to former previously disadvantaged universities saying the former white universities had benefited from apartheid.
“Former white universities such as Wits and the University of Cape Town have reserves that can sustain them for 100 years.”
White students at the previously white institutions such as Wits university and at the University of Cape Town led comfortable lives on campus when compared to their counterparts at former black universities, he said.
He said black students continued to go to bed hungry at campuses and were subjected to poor living conditions and bad food.
“It cannot be that you are subjected to the same food as if you are a prisoner at the C Max prison... The children of (a) Van Tonder at former white universities are subjected to good food, they have variety.”
He said the rainbow nation was “cosmetic” and a true rainbow nation was yet to be established.
He said the youth league would continue to lobby for free higher education as this was one of the resolutions of the ANC.
“You must just come here, register and only offer your mind and hard work. This issue (of free higher education) cannot be postponed any longer.”