Every day South Africa sinks deeper and deeper into crisis, affecting all aspects of people’s lives. The ruling class – ANC elites and the white monopoly capitalists (WMC) they serve – is insatiable in their control and defence of the status quo. Not even the COVID-19 pandemic spurred this ruling class to address social inequality and reduce the impact on working people.
Every year students protest against exclusions, an index of the education crisis, where ‘born frees’ are excluded because of their ‘historical debt’ to universities; while the historical debt of apartheid and WMC to their parents, and the people of this country has not been addressed. Under the ANC government’s neoliberal GEAR (1996) the impoverishment of working people has increased as jobless growth has enriched (mainly white) elites. Models like National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) increase student indebtedness, undermine free education, exclude, and promote neoliberalism.
Soweto 1976 staked the claim of the right to education for all, which was captured in the country’s Constitution, together with other socio-economic rights. But since 1994, instead of protecting and defending black youth and their right to education, ANC elites have demonstrated unwavering defence and support for private property as custodians of WMC’s interests. This has happened at the expense of providing education and other basic needs to the people.
The death of a bystander, Mthokozizi Ntumba, at the hands of the SAPS in Braamfontein on 10 March during the student protests is indicative of the crisis. This is not an isolated, random case. Remember Andries Tatane, the Marikana Massacre and many who have died at the hands of the SAPS. State violence has increasingly been available to resolve peaceful protests also enshrined in the country’s Constitution.
As in most social struggles, only the organisation, mobilisation and struggles of working people – students, workers, women and communities – will resolve the different facets of the crises in South Africa, change the status quo and create a common good. Let us engage our students and strengthen the mass movement.
Solidarity with the family of Mthokozizi Ntumba.
This article was submitted on 12 March 2021. You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and Karibu! Online (www.Karibu.org.za), and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.