Student politics making waves!

Fort Hare has gained media attention after students voted against the African National Congress for the Democratic Alliance.

Ramaphosa, Mbalula and Gigaba campaigned for ANC which failed to win the election in the ANC’s heartland.The second university campus that Sasco (SA Students Congress) has lost to Daso (Democratic Alliance Student Organization). Last year the DA students took control of the SRC at Port Elizabeth‘s Nelson Mandela metropolitan University.

Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba. Image by: MARTIN RHODES
Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba.
Image by: MARTIN RHODES

As reported by Rand Daily Mail, Daso obtained 52.5% of the vote in elections at the university last week, while the ANC-aligned SA Students Congress (Sasco) got only 37%. This was despite the ANC delegating senior leaders, including Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba to campaign for Sasco.

The university has been home to great ANC leaders like Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo, and has always been a stronghold of the ANC. Nonetheless, a political earthquake has diminished that limelight. The same old tune has been sung since the reign of the ANC. Empty promises have been its virtue.

Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa made promises that are aligned to the students during the campaign, in relation to assisting students with food allowances. The pleading of the students has been through Fort Hare being unilaterally raised by NSFAS student fees and residence costs year on year, so that NSFAS students today cannot afford textbooks or food.

Residence costs have been pushed up by 33% for NSFAS students since 2013 even though the properties have become increasingly squalid and neglected. NSFAS students are forced to use their monthly food funding to pay these inflated residence costs. And no additional food allowances have been paid for this entire academic year.

It is obviously apparent that the university is funding its operation through the poorest of students. Does this have any symbolists to the status and functioning of the university?

Ramaphosa’s undelivered promises from his last visit in 2014 no doubt kept students away from hearing new empty promises. In 2014 Mr. Ramaphosa made promises to NSFAS students that have not been acted on at all. YESTERDAY’S PROMISES WERE NO MORE CONCRETE THAN THE LAST.

The conditions of NSFAS students at Fort Hare are unacceptable, and the DA demands that change be implemented. As almost sixty thousands students signed a petition that was delivered to the University today.

What most students in this day and age need is a transparent mandate that is from its leaders. One would wonder why students distrust and lose hope in what they see is a losing battle. Ever since the “Rhodes must fall” incidents, students throughout the country have opted for alternative methods of getting what they want. Such as to one being engulfed in politics.

Has the leading party reached a point of no-return regarding student support?

Are we finally seeing the benefits of using our rights to our advantage?

Written by:

Agisanang Disemelo

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