Students march to parliament

| Ashleigh Furlong
UCT students and workers marched to parliament to hand over a memorandum of demands. Photo by Masixole Feni.

A few hundred students and workers from the University of Cape Town (UCT) marched to parliament this afternoon demanding an end to outsourcing at all universities, protesting against police brutality, and calling for free education.

The protesters marched from UCT, took a train to Woodstock station, and then marched to parliament.

UCT workers marched in solidarity with students saying “your struggle is our struggle”.

Many protesters wore white and light blue headbands and armbands to indicate the march was peaceful.

Marshalls directed traffic and the protesters held placards with slogans that read: ‘Fees have not fallen’, ‘Bye-bye outsourcing’ and ‘Education is a right not a privilege’.

A memorandum was handed over to the Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzu Manana.

Activist Masixole Mlandu said that the march was to remind the public that “we are not done yet”.

He said that the central discourse is one of decolonisation and of the implementation of a free quality education that “addresses the ills of the entire continent” and is “decolonialist in its setting and nature”.

The memorandum calls for “Afrocentric socialist education for all with the burden put on the wealthy”.

It also calls for monthly reports on a plan to be immediately implemented on fees so that they consistently drop and never rise, ultimately culminating in free education.

It also called for an unedited copy of the report modelling free tertiary education that “was handed to Blade Nzimande in 2012”.

The memorandum called for insourcing to be implemented nationwide with a living wage, improvement of working environments and no victimisation in a transition period of six months.

The memorandum said that all charges against those arrested during the protest must be dropped and those who ordered violent actions must be accountable. It also called for police action in future to only be defensive as well as medical care being present when police are summoned.

Manana received the memorandum and said government is committed to free and quality higher education.

“Thank you for embarking on this struggle,” he told protesters. He called the protests a noble struggle.

He also said that the report on free higher education would be released but did not give a date.

After Manana had addressed the crowd, he put on a T-shirt handed to him with the words #Feesmustfall and #EndOutsourcing on the front, and “The revolution will be black-led and intersectional or it will be bullshit”.

He said he would respond on Monday.

The march comes on the heels of UCT’s announcement that it will end outsourcing and all workers will become insourced..

TOPICS:  Civil Society Education National

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