Last week, the Cape Argus invited student co-editors to edit Friday’s edition of the newspaper.
Here one of the student co-editors responds to President’s Zuma’s announcement of a zero-percent increase in university fees for 2016.
Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma’s announcement on Friday, October 23 that there would be a zero-percent increase in
university fees for 2016 after mass action across the country was met with admiration.
Almost immediately, the twittersphere was littered with #FeesHaveFallen over this perceived victory.
In Stellenbosch the chants of “Zero Percent!” rang through the white building lined streets; as if we’d won. As if the battle was over. As if the enemy had been defeated.
We’ve won nothing.
The Fees Must Fall movement has a list of 10 demands.
The president has only addressed one of them, and at the most strategic time.
We have not been addressed on the neo-slavery that is the outsourcing of workers, the potential for free education in this country, the radical decolonisation of education, nor on the actions taken against our comrades who put their bodies on the line and now face charges against them.
Zero percent is an attempt to derail student protests by giving us a crumb when we’ve asked for the loaf of bread.
Zero percent was given in order to reduce our numbers because it is a loss wearing the crown of victory.
We reject this so-called deal with Zuma.
We reject it because we must ask how this deal was made.
Those who were allowed to make decisions on behalf of protesters across the country, without consulting the very students who they were supposed to be the mouthpieces of, while the real leaders of this movement were with the people on the streets.
The issues raised by the Fees Must Fall movement are not up for debate or deliberation; most certainly not in a comfortable room while students are being tear-gassed right outside.
What about the workers?
One of the primary demands which seems to have been overshadowed by #FeesMustFall is the call for the end of outsourcing at universities.
The general public has latched onto the idea of student protests, forgetting that this is a student-worker alliance.
In fact, many students have forgotten this too, assuming that zero percent has been our only goal from day one.
Zero percent does not help anyone other than the upper class.
Students, like me, who could not afford the fees at the beginning of this year, will be unable to afford them next year.
We cannot claim this as an easy victory, because we have not won anything.
We have been given a pacifier.
Spit it out and continue to cry because fees have not fallen; outsourcing has not ended. We fight on.
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