South African students and academics based in the UK pledged their support for the #FeesMustFall movement, marching to the South African High Commission in London on Tuesday to demand that government prioritise the fees crisis in higher education. They read out a statement to the High Commissioner, Obed Mlaba.
The text of the statement read out to Mlaba:
“While we as South African scholars based in the United Kingdom, European Union and the United States of America are temporarily outside of the country, we remain committed to South Africa. Our futures are tied to the future of the country and indeed, many of us are studying overseas precisely to develop skills which can be brought to bear in improving the lives of people who live in South Africa.”
“Without endorsing any particular choice of tactics regarding the correctness/incorrectness of the mode of agency used by students; the consensusâ€™ across the differing universities, or even making any comment on the different models of free education put forward, we recognise that student struggle for decolonial education accessible to all is a just and noble struggle, in an unjust society.”
“Government has so far abdicated all responsibility placed upon it to resolve the crisis, except for interventions designed to violently suppress students. It is the responsibility of government to meet and meaningfully engage with students, to take their demands seriously, and find a way out of the crisis. Especially considering that Government is complicit in the problems currently faced by the Higher Education sector; the indifference of senior government office-bearers to the current crisis, including the indifference of the President of the Republic, is frankly shameful.”
“We call on the State to recognise the unique responsibility it holds to the people of South Africa, to engage meaningfully and humbly with student protestors, and to find practical solutions for a way forward which address the underlying issues in Higher Education in the country. No other social actor has the power to resolve the current impasse. The situation as it currently stands, where government has essentially abdicated its responsibilities to the people of South Africa, is unacceptable and shameful, and can only lead to worse crisis.”