UNITED FRONT PRESS STATEMENT
SUPPORT FOR MASS MARCH AGAINST WHITE SUPREMACY AND FOR DECOLONISED FREE EDUCATION AT NORTH WEST UNIVERSITY
14 March 2015
The time has come to tear down the last bastions of white supremacy and Afrikaner arrogance! Events at North-West University (NWU) and the University of the (un)Free State (UFS) confirm not only that Afrikaner dominance over black students and workers has not been dealt with, but that a mass response is necessary to defend those who fight for the emancipation of black people. The United Front fully supports tomorrow’s mass march against white supremacy at NWU. The march led by the Reform PUK student movement, and the outsourced workers at the university. The march is supported by the broader black and working class communities of Tlokwe, and the rest of the North West province. The march will start at 10h00 at Trimpark (outside McDonald’s) in the Potchfestroom CBD and head to the university.
At these former – or rather still – Afrikaner universities, Afrikaans is given place of privilege that subjugates and exludes, as indigenous languages continue to be marginalised. This emboldens white supremacy in the management, administration and academic staff who continue to humiliate black students in class, in the residences and other amenities, who face the constant threat of financial exclusion, who also have to endure the exploitation of outsourced black workers and then face beatings and bullets when they protest. NWU’s Potchefstroom campus is not only a colonial institution that undermines black history, it is also physically dominated by Afrikaner students who make up 70% of the student body.
The time has come for the few black students who make it there to be joined by the many black people who are excluded, to send a message that the struggle of black university students and workers is the struggle of the black majority of our people who still live with the indignity of white supremacy, oppression and exploitation. The time has come to build on the work of ReformPUK who have forged strong bonds between students who demand the end of financial exclusion, marginalistion through the Afrikaans language policy and workers who are weakened through outsourcing through which labour brokers exploit black labour, keep wages down and reproduce and entrench inequality and poverty. Their demands echo those of #RhodesMustFall, #FeesMustFall, the Black Student Movement and all progressive student-worker alliances in our universities.
The time has come to stand with student leaders who face repression, intimidation and brutality because they refuse to back down. The court interdicts and militarisation of campuses across the country do nothing to quell the tensions and fears faced by those who are crushed under the boot of white supremacy at our universities. ReformPUK’s demands are clear:
1. The immediate reinstatement of all the workers dismissed by the Servest company without loss of pay!
2. The Immediate withdrawal of charges against all students who have been charged for organising other students and workers as these amount to undemocratic repression;
3. The Immediate withdrawal of the Court Interdict which creates an atmosphere of fear and tension.
4. Full rights of representation on the task team dealing with outsourcing!
5. Full Insourcing and a minimum wage of R10 000.00 once all contracts are terminated. In the meantime a minimum wage of R6 500.00 to be topped up by the University while contracts are still in place.
6. Free education for workers and their children as enjoyed by all other staff members.
7. Free medical care as enjoyed by all other members of staff.
8. Full employee benefits in terms of the labour relations act including a Provident Fund and a thirteenth cheque which other staff members enjoy.
We call on all students, progressive and worker organisations, trade unions, leftwing political organisations, NGO’s/Social Movements and all black people toiling, unemployed and marginalised to support their cause by mobilising for the Mass Action of 14 March. Let’s make 14 March a milestone in the sustained struggle for free education, the end of exploitation through outsourcing and the forging of mass united front to take forward the fight for a South Africa of black dignity, prosperity and freedom. The time has come!
FOR COMMENTS, CONTACT:
1. Portia Bopalamo – United Front North West Provincial Secretary – 0605834096
2. Shaheen Khan – United Front NWC member – 082 375 9408
3. Mazibuko K. Jara – United Front Interim National Secretary – 083 987 9633
4. Dinga Sikwebu – United Front NWC member – 082 682 0338