Sasco president Thabo Mojola speaking to journalists in Pretoria after the students' movement's planned march to the department of higher education flopped in Pretoria. PHOTO: ANA
Pretoria – Leaders of the African National Congress-aligned South African Students Congress (Sasco) were left fuming on Tuesday, accusing the governing party of sabotage, after the students movement’s planned protest march to the department of higher education flopped in Pretoria.

“We believe the ANC subcommittee on education sabotaged the march today. They called us, requesting us to stop [the march] but we refused. They then threatened service providers and they pulled out on us,” Sasco president Thabo Moloja told reporters in Pretoria.

“This was [supposed to be] our second march after the other one we did to NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) in Cape Town.”

Mojola said the move by the ANC to muzzle the students’ movement was detrimental.

“They (ANC) said we must stop being radical. We must stop being militant. We told them that they are killing Sasco. This organisation will die if we stop being militant and radical, we lose our existence. We will continue … if government fails to deliver, without being sorry.

“When we got calls this morning from bus drivers saying our sponsors have pulled out, we said we would still come here [Burgers Park in Pretoria which was the meeting place of the marchers],” said Moloja.

A crowd of Sasco-affiliated students which had congregated in Burgers Park, later dispersed without marching as they had planned. Permission for the march had been granted by the Tshwane Metro Police, who were monitoring the students gathered in the city centre.

A statement issued by Sasco on Tuesday evening said the students’ body was “annoyed” by the tactics of the ANC and the national department of higher education.

The student body threatened that it would hit back. “This shows the arrogance and irresponsibility of our leaders not to take our dismay and cries for free education seriously. This is further agitating our action and we will respond arrogantly. Further to that, we want to make it clear to the movement that we are not toys to be played around. Our next action will not be favourable and we will not listen to anyone.”

Sasco is scheduled to address media at the ANC’s Luthuli House headquarters in Johannesburg on Wednesday.