10 March 2021
Equal Education post-school youth members media statement: We condemn police brutality at Wits University! Forward to free, quality, equal and decolonised education!
Equal Education (EE) is saddened by the death of a man at the hands of police today at a protest at Wits University. We strongly condemn police brutality. We stand in solidarity with the struggle by students for a free, quality, equal and decolonised education system.
We reject all forms of exclusion at tertiary institutions at this time, whether it be financial or academic. Students need support, especially while facing extreme challenges made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. All students must be allowed to register at no cost, to access tertiary education in order for our people to be liberated through education. Youth development cannot transpire if we are starved of human development. Knowledge is power!
Many first year students have been denied registration to tertiary institutions due to budget constraints. The financial exclusion of students is a result of our government’s anti-poor austerity budgeting. The majority of students who are denied the opportunity to register by institutions come from working-class backgrounds. These are students whose final year of school was heavily impacted by COVID-19 restrictions and who missed out on a significant amount of time in the classroom. The doors of higher learning continue to remain closed for poor and working class children, and it is despicable that when these students take to the streets to advocate for equal opportunities, the response from the State is to shoot to kill.
EE’s third national congress resolved that our movement will continue to be in solidarity with the struggles of students. Our second national congress resolved: “This Congress recognises the importance of the struggle of students in institutions of higher learning for the transformation and decolonisation of their institutions, and supports the work of movements whose members are fighting the oppressive legacy of colonialism and Apartheid at their institutions of higher learning”.
Today, we call on the government to end the financial exclusion of students in all tertiary learning institutions. We also call for justice for the man who lost his life today and we extend our condolences to his family.
We call for unity among students and workers in this country.
Note to editors: Please quote the authors of this statement. Sindisa Monakali, Equal Education National Council Deputy Chair (Post-School Youth), and Siphosethu Mgqibisa, Equal Education National Council Post-School Youth Representative
To arrange a media interview, contact: Jay-Dee Cyster (Equal Education Communications Officer) firstname.lastname@example.org 082 924 1352