Killing at Wits University condemned – SACP

Party calls on govt to adequately fund the NSFAS and expand post-school education and training provision

SACP strongly condemns killing of a member of the public at Wits University, calls upon the government to adequately fund the NSFAS and expand post-school education and training provision

10 March 2020

The South African Communist Party (SACP) strongly condemns, and calls for a thoroughgoing investigation into, the killing of a member of the public at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 10 March 2021. We convey our heartfelt message of condolences to the family of the deceased.

The SACP further reiterates its stance denouncing austerity, in response to the national budget and the fiscal framework that underpins the budgets. The government must focus on expanding the capacity of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges and universities as a sector to avoid an increase in, and to reduce, the number of young people who are Not in Employment, Education and Training (NEET).

In the here and now, the SACP calls upon the government to approve adequate funding for TVET colleges and universities to ensure that no deserving student is excluded because of their incapacity to pay student fees.

In the context of its stance against austerity and call upon the government to expand TVET and higher education provision, the SACP supports students peacefully protesting to gain access to post-school education and training institutions.  

Austerity is the key public finance management problem depriving students from poor and working-class families that cannot afford student fees.

For instance, the budget delivered last month to Parliament by the Minister of Finance Tito Mboweni cut allocations to higher education institutions by 1.712 billion rand in 2021/2022, 2.250 billion rand in 2022/2023, and approximately 4.1 billion rand in 2023/2024. In total, the cuts (‘fiscal consolidation’) to funding support affecting higher education institutions amount to 8.043 billion rand in the medium-term expenditure framework (2021/2022 to 2023/2024).

While the coronavirus pandemic has increased the number of students are eligible for funding by the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), the National Treasury's adjustment to the NSFAS is an inadequate 1.7% in total for the three consecutive financial years from 2021/2022 to 2023/2024.

Directly underpinning the problem facing access to TVET colleges and universities affecting students from poor and working-class households is a persisting economic crisis. The macroeconomic framework followed by the government has failed to overcome the crisis.

In the second quarter of 2020 over two million workers were retrenched in our economy. The jobs bloodbath did not end there. It continued, reducing the size of the employed workforce, and keeping total unemployment at an economic crisis-high level.

Poverty remains entrenched.

Meanwhile, millions of employed workers face merciless exploitation. As the working poor, they are struggling to support themselves and their dependents because they are paid poverty wages.

In the public sector, the National Treasury has intransigently ensured that there are no wage increases for public servants.

In the private sector, various sections of workers were compelled to take wage cuts.

Issued by Alex MohubetswaneMashilo, SACP Central Committee Member: Media & Communications, 10 March 2021