Photo: ANA

Johannesburg - Cosatu has hailed the 0 percent increase in university fees for next year, announced by President Jacob Zuma on Friday afternoon, as a victory for working class students.

But the country’s largest trade union federation said it was only one step, saying it was glad a broader discussion would now begin between partners in the higher education sector.

“This is a victory for the thousands of students, who have taken their destiny in their own hands. Their resilience, clarity, and unity was exemplary and admirable,” Cosatu spokesman, Sizwe Pamla said.

“This generation has shown that the country’s future is in good hands through their awareness, activism and mobilisation.”

He said the largely peaceful demonstrations by students across the country this week should not be overshadowed by “hooligans and agent provocateurs” who vandalised property and “ provoked the police”.

“We denounce and condemn those criminals, who tried to hijack this movement and bring about their anarchist tendencies,” Pamla said.

“Those few opportunists and vagrants should be isolated , arrested and shamed. The student leadership should also be commended for isolating charlatans and opportunists, who wanted to hijack their grassroots movement and use it for their narrow political gains.

“We salute them for sending these charlatans packing and back to their caves.”

Cosatu said it hoped government got a wake up call, in which it was now clear to it that things must change and must change now.

“We expect the cabinet to go back and reflect on the poor and non-implementation of the progressive ruling party policies,” it said.

It once again called for National Treasury to be “reigned in and not allowed to amass so much power for itself”.

“People did not vote for those Treasury mandarins, but they voted for the progressive ANC policies contained in its manifesto. Those hard-line conservatives and neoliberal priests running both the Treasury and the Reserve Bank should be held accountable for failing the people,” Pamla said. “Monopoly capital also should be clearly told that the honeymoon is over; people demand change and demand it now.”

Labour Bureau

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