Urgent: Solidarity needed with South African students

The enormous #feesmustfall movement that swept South Africa in the autumn has inspired students around the world and was able to score a substantial victory against the ANC government. Below is a letter written by student socialists in South Africa, describing the #outsourcingmustfall campaign which has developed out of this. The letter is a request for solidarity from students there, and for assistance with the setting up of the new Socialist Youth Movement in South Africa. We are asking Socialist Students societies to urgently raise this issue in students unions and to do all they can to help provide this much needed assistance.

This call is given added urgency by the shocking news of the abduction of an #outsourcingmustfall activist. For details of how to arrange any donations from students unions or societies please fill in a ‘join’ form on this site, leaving contact details, and a comment explaining that you wish to support this solidarity appeal. We will then get in touch directly.

Dear comrades,

We are writing to appeal for donations towards the organisation of a national meeting of the Socialist Youth Movement (SYM) to take place in Pretoria, South Africa before the end of April.

SYM is a student movement organised at universities and colleges across South Africa. The youth of South Africa have grabbed international headlines since October last year when the mighty #FeesMustFall movement culminated in a march on the seat of the South African government. This mass movement, which bypassed all of the establishment political parties and their student wings, forced the ANC government to promise that there would be no tuition fee increases in 2016.

But this massive victory is just the first step in opening up access to higher education, especially for poor black students. Every semester many thousands of students suffer financial exclusion from higher education. They are forced to drop out due to unaffordable tuition and registration fees, accommodation and the cost of books and even food. At several universities, the black majority still face racist discrimination in terms of institutions language policy. Demand for free education and ‘decolonisation’ of the campuses are now widespread.

The SYM has called our upcoming national meeting to try and bring together the new student movements to discuss and plan the launching of a new national student movement committed to the struggle for free education and the transformation of the culture of the campuses.

The main cost of the meeting is transport. South Africa is a vast country with an underdeveloped public transport system. For example, to travel the 470km from the city of Bloemfontein (where there are two universities) to the meeting in Pretoria would cost one person R400 (£18/$26/€23) for a round trip. With half of all South African households living on less than R2,500 per month, even this modest amount is beyond the means of the vast majority of students.

Therefore, in the spirit of international solidarity upon which SYM stands we appeal for donations to ensure that our national meeting is as successful and representative as possible and assists in taking the struggle of the South African youth forward.

Kind regards,
Trevor Shaku
National Organiser, Socialist Youth Movement
+27 73 378 7049

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