On behalf of the 19th NEC of the CONGRESS of SOUTH AFRICAN STUDENTS, we would like to wish our beloved student organization its 41st Anniversary of existence. It was on this day that the biggest student organization convened its first national congress which elected President Ephraim Mogale; Brian Vungashi Mabasa (Deputy President); Modise Metsing (Secretary); Vusimuzi Gqoba (Organiser) and Oupa Masuku (Publicity Secretary).
It is from this potent organizational history that we draw from the words of the longest-serving president, an undisputed matyre of the people’s liberation Cde O.R Tambo when addressing our first conference he remarked in the letter addressed to congress that “ the congress movement is born, the fortress of our people…”.
It is from these remarks that he simplified our approach as the gigantic student movement not only in schools but our broader participation in society generally. We were born precisely to be the first line of defence of the people’s struggles against any form of oppression for whichever shape it takes. As such hence we continue to have an opinion on any issue that affects our communities even beyond school parameters. “We’re members of the community before we’re students”
Today we equally honour and remember the life of our first female president of COSAS comrade Sandra Baloyi, the Lioness of the north a fearless gentle giant. The organization will forever hold her close for her contributions into the struggle and will forever be remembered. May her soul continue to rest in revolutionary agitation of our generation and those beyond.
With every anniversary we celebrate it becomes a yardstick of measuring our relevance in persuing the people’s revolution through education towards a national democratic society. To reflect on our gains but most importantly to reflect on our shortcomings and emerging challenges poised to us as the current generation of the student movement
We wish to celebrate today’s 41st anniversary day by not lingering on historic achievements and gains but to indeed be a 41-year-old organisation that is honest about the trajectory envisaged and the quagmire we’re faced as a nation towards the strategic objectives and snail-paced approach we’ve seemingly grown fond to.
Our reluctance as COSAS to speak out robustly will not only render us useless but delay the truly revolutionary change we espoused to see in the country. It has a potential of turning COSAS into a student desk of factions within the ANC and gradually ends up being department’s spokesperson.
At 41 we acknowledge that most of our struggles pre and post 1994 democratic dispensation continue to fall into old age ears in the ANC, our sense of agency is not regarded in responding to most socio-economic challenges. Hence today we have an embarrassing minister of finance who urges young people to be confined into the inclusive economy through being waitresses in restaurants, that are predominantly white-owned if not foreign-owned that don’t even contribute to the development of any school near them. It is such examples that truly confine our new normalcy and reluctancy to change the South African status quo, that initially was at the centre of us taking up arms against the old regime, that is to shapeshift economic patterns amongst others.
Being silent on congress movement traditions that are being gradually eroded will not dignify COSAS in claiming 41 years of existence as a milestone that cant reflect on the immediate challenges.
And we have made a thorough analogy on the trends of this organic erosion of traditions; the major one being the deliberate dilution of former leaders of COSAS especially those with an insatiable for glory and recognition and complete destruction of those rigid to true values of the movement. We call upon all generations of COSAS to further reflect on this and unite against this money train that will leave the MDM with no soul.
We wish not to even engage on the state of the Youth League at the moment. We shall reserve our views for later engagements but it must be recorded that the money train cartel in the ANC is hellbent on making sure it never comes back to its former glory assisted by that political delinquent of Tandi Mahambehlala.
We celebrate our anniversary under abnormal circumstances during this pandemic that is ravaging the world.
On the 10-14 July 2006, the 12th National Congress of COSAS held in Geoga Village, Port Elizabeth entered with the ONE COMPUTER ONE STUDENT theme. Which was taken from being an Intention to being an Action? We are recently confronted by a pandemic that has exposed our government’s failure to adapt our struggle, our constituency is forced to adapt to online learning while our plea to go to digital learning has been ignored for many years.
Learners are forced to return back to school, to go and learn in an environment that has consistently not been conducive to ‘learning and teaching’. The government wants to gamble with the lives of our constituency and parents by forcing for the reopening of schools. Had the government taken our struggle serious, we would not have been having a problem with learners not being able to adapt to online learning during this season and there would not be a reason to send them to this suicide mission that the Department of Basic Education has launched.
In fact, we view the attempts to force us to return to school as a money baking scheme driven by this money cartel we warned you about. They just want to award sanitizing tenders and feeding schemes to their cronies at the expense of black children with total disregard of our social cohabiting circumstances that are not of our doing for that matter. We wish to inform the department that any death, just one death of any leaner we will leave no stone unturned to stop your genocidal mission against a black generation.
We call upon the minister to do the right thing and halt this mass onslaught. This time she must be warned we will visit her personally and reconfigure her dental formula to its original setup.
Yours in student leadership,
060 926 0444
074 736 7729
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