Afriforum Youth’s Henrico Barnard said, “[Afriforum Youth UP] does not agree with the violent approach that is taken by the [Fees Must Fall movement]. However, we agree that all deserving students should have the opportunity to attend tertiary education.” Barnard added that Afriforum Youth agrees that all deserving students should have the opportunity to receive tertiary education, with admission based strongly on merit, adding that “students who have the capacity [to attend a tertiary institution], but not the necessary financial requirements” should be able to study. Barnard said, “[Afriforum Youth] reject political projects that will further weaken universities under the guise of ‘decolonisation’ and will watch over academic standards that will be decisive for the future of the students and the country.”

Former SRC President and a representative of the Fees Must Fall movement at UP, Mosibudi “Rassie” Rasethaba shared his views on the funding of free tertiary education. Rasethaba said that there are multiple models that speak of free decolonised tertiary education for all, and that one can consider combining different progressive models such as an education tax that will levy those “criminals” [sic] engaged in the monopoly of the economy. Rasethaba also suggested the introduction of “a watertight corporate tax”. He added, “The call to fight for free, decolonised, afrocentric, and intersectional education is called on noble, genuine grounds which is that education is a universal fundamental right which must not be commodified.” Rasethaba added that “we are in post-modernity and [a] phase of decoloniality, hence we need to resource our education along such tenets so that we can decolonise our minds. The knowledge production must be African so that we recover our identity and dignity. Anyone who is not concurring with this call is still hallowing the aftermath of the project of colonialism. That individual or group must be cogently [sic] sensitive.” Rasethaba affirmed that education should be free for all, the rich and the poor. Rasethaba voiced his message for the first-years of 2017, “My message for the students of 2017 is that the fight for free decolonised education is [a] fight for you. It is [a] fight for a better society and we encourage them [first-year students] to join as we continue to destroy all unjust systems.”

UP 2016 SRC interim chairperson, Thabo Shingange, affirmed Sasco UP’s stance in the fight for free education, saying, “The fight for free quality education is not a new phenomenon, which Sasco has been championing for the last 20 years.” He added that free quality education is still a matter of debate, and not of implementation, however, those against the revolution of free decolonised tertiary education “under the rhetoric of it is not feasible” must not think something is a problem because it does not affect them personally.” Shingange explained that the bid for fee-free quality education speaks to the call to “de-commodify” education overall, where everyone (rich or poor), ought to be a beneficiary. EFFSC-UP was unavailable for comment.

 

Photo: Fezikile Msimang