The Congress of South African Students would like to congratulate in advance the class of 2013 which participated in the writing of the final exams. The class of 2013 worked tirelessly and some made it through the examinations under difficult conditions due to the many ills which exist in our society the leading one being school violence which continues to manifest itself in our schools making the environment not conducive for the culture of teaching and learning let alone examinations. We are patiently waiting with them for their excellent results. In the same order we equally congratulate all the other pupils in various grades who also participated in their final examinations, through writing the exams they took the final step towards ensuring that they pass to the next level. Education remains one of the key mechanisms which will assist the growth of the economy of the country; with education we can further protect and maintain our hard earned democracy.
As an organization we are still dissatisfied by how the department of education reports the pass rate with pride each year. The department of basic education celebrated the 73.9% of the matric pass rate last year. As an organization we didn’t fully celebrate because we considered facts such as how many students had passed their matric with a bachelor and would qualify to be accepted in universities. The pass rate can only be fully celebrated when the majority of the students who have passed would qualify to be accepted in any university in the world. The standard of our education in South Africa remains very low when we judge it by the output of learners who are in matric. Subject combinations which don’t work out for learners such as a learner doing accounting and mathematical literacy at the same time are also factors which disadvantage learners when trying to enter into Higher Education Institutions. There is still a gap which exists between subjects taken by the learners in High Schools also the level in which they are passed and the requirements for entry into tertiary institutions. We are calling on the Department of Basic Educations and that of Higher Education to collaborate more and strengthen their relations so that such situations which disadvantage learners in the end can be minimized.
In the meantime we are encouraging matriculants of 2013 to not take a gap year next year, but to apply in Further Education Training institutions as well if they have not been accepted to Universities. Other students can utilize the option of upgrading their subjects so that in 2015 they would be qualifying to go to any institution of their choice. Gap years have seen some of the most brilliant minds of young people in our country ending up participating and being affected by social ills so we strongly discourage them.
The Congress of South African students is still awaiting the report from an enquiry which was supposedly set up by the Department of Basic Education on the instruction of minister of Basic Education Angie Motsekga. After we had voiced out our stand on the publicizing of matric results as a student’s organization, speaking on behalf of learners in South Africa, that the publishing of matric results must be banned, it was said that a committee on the matter had been put together. Up until today we are still awaiting the report which according to our view, in the first place was a waste of time and a delay in answering our call. The Minister of Basic Education must stop playing games with us and respond to our call immediately. The result of a learner who is doing grade 12 is a private matter between the learner, parents and the Department of Education. With that being said COSAS will continue to intensify the struggle against the publication of matric results until the department of basic education stops giving them out to the media to be published without permission of the learners and parents.
As students we are advocating for the director general of the department of basic education Bobby Soobrayan to be allowed to go back to work and continue with his duties peacefully. Up until today the director general of the department of basic education has not been found guilty of any misconduct. The uncertainty about the progress of charges that were laid against him has led to the DG taking special leaves from work which destabilizes the department of basic education. The principle of innocent until proven otherwise must take its course,with the DG continuing to do his work.
On 2014 General Elections:
The country is at its 19th year of democracy and next year will be celebrating 20 years of freedom. We ought to commend our victories as a country so far. South Africa has achieved more than expected in the period of only 20 years after more than 100 years of oppression which saw to it that only a certain portion of the country enjoyed development, today equality is a work in progress. To protect this democracy and to further ensure that continuity and consistency is maintained as far as development of the country is concerned, all South Africans must go out in numbers to register in order to participate in the 2014 general elections. South African citizens from the ages of 16 years and upwards must ensure that their voice is heard through registering and also voting in the 2014 general elections.
Statistics which were released by the Independent Electoral Commission for the 30th and 31st of November 2013 registration weekend reported that there were 347 765 young people from the ages 16 to 19 years who registered to vote in that weekend alone. The total number of new registrations for all ages were 1 088 015. These are appraisable numbers however more young people must play the role of being responsible citizens and go to utilize their right to participate in the choosing of South African leadership. As the Congress of South African Students we encourage and plead with all fellow Mandela children from the ages of 16 years to go and register to vote. This can be done through going to IEC offices in towns nearby their homes; also another opportunity will be opened for people to register in their voting stations early next year.
The Congress of South African Students still views the African National Congress as the most suitable organization to continue driving the transformation agenda. The African National Congress with its policies which seek to create a non-racial, non- sexist, democratic, united and prosperous nation inspires confidence amongst the South African citizens that indeed it caters for all South Africans regardless of their race or gender. One of the aims of the African National Congress is to ensure that there is a prosperous nation. The ANC lead government has ensured that this is possible through investing on an increased excess to education with 60% of schools, 14 567 out of 24 532 schools in 2010 reported as no fee schools as per report of statistics SA and the department of basic education. The ANC lead government has further ensured that there is excess to Higher Institutions of learning by increasing the money invested in the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) over the years from back in 1991 when it used to be R441 million to R8, 5 billion in 2013. The National Financial Aid Scheme has opened doors to learning for young people in traditional universities, universities of technology and further education training institutions. The ANC declared education as a first priority and all these initiatives from the ANC led government reflect that. Education is the most important tool in the growth of the economy of the country, with a strong economy a prosperous nation is guaranteed. With the above mentioned facts and many others as students we call on the African National Congress to continue leading the government in order to maintain a constant development of our country. We urge all young people and South African citizens in general to register and vote for the ANC in 2014.
The Congress of South African Students would like to discourage programs or campaigns such as the ‘The Red October’ marches which took place in some key cities of South Africa in October. The white South African citizens who were involved in the marches claimed that the campaign was aimed at supposedly defending their race from the crimes and killings of white people in South Africa. This is despite investigations which have been done such as the one which was conducted by Africa Check, which contradicts the assertion by the participators of the marches, as the investigation found that, white people in South Africa are less likely to be murdered than any other race group in the country. We view these marches as a threat to the progress we have made as a country as far as building unity and harmony amongst all South African citizens is concerned. We welcome the rejection of this campaign by majority white South Africans who distanced themselves from this march which rather seemed to be motivated by illusion and proved that the advocators of the campaign were paranoid. As a student’s organization we are very disappointed by public figures such as Steve Hofmeyr, who have a responsibility to take part in the building of our country rather than leading campaigns which have a potential to sow divisions amongst races of South Africa, 20 years into our democracy. As an organization we were further disturbed by the use of the old South African flag in the campaign. We viewed it with serious condemnation as it suggested that the campaigners still believed in the old South Africa, and that their campaign which spoke of supposedly defending white South Africans from crime, was a front for the real campaign of wanting to disturb our progress as a country. All South Africans regardless of their race should unite against these tendencies and isolate all those who want to threaten the hegemony of our country.
The African national congress youth league will never be liquidated, is the responsibility of those the African national congress took from the street, made them millions to come back and assisted the ANCYL for example Tokyo Sexwale ,Cyril Ramaphosa and not to forget the Nelson Mandela trust because the former president was made by the ANCYL.
We are tired of this wood work criminal called Julius Malema who has based his campaign on our president Jacob Zuma ,we are going to defend our president of the African National Congress with everything we have if it means we must declare the so called Economic Freedom Fighters the enemy we will.