Address by YCLSA National Secretary, Cde Mluleki Dlelanga, on the SASCO Policy Conference
28 June 2016, Mangosuthu University of Technology, KwaZulu-Natal
"Let's close ranks, let's unite and minimize what divide us"
Let me for and on behalf of our 4th National Committee and on behalf of the rank and file membership of the Young Communist league of South Africa, we greet you on this very important gathering of our only progressive student formation in our country, the South African Student Congress organization.
Thank you for inviting us to share our views and our ideas so that we contribute to shape the policy discourse of our education system towards a free, compulsory and quality education. Am also honored to address this august gathering in the Institution where as an individual I joined SASCO as a member and from the day I joined SASCO I remain indebted to this organization as this organization has made me to be what I am today.
As a former member of this organization, we must always make sure that your organization, our organization does not lose its color and must remain rooted in its founding and guiding principles in order for it to remain relevant in the current challenges and be able to confront and provide political solutions on challenges facing youth in general and student in particular.
Since the foundation of this new fighting force SASCO, which has been historical guided by these principles?
SASCO is committed to working towards a democratic system of education in a democratic South Africa.
SASCO is at the forefront of the struggle for a non-racial system of education in the context of addressing the racial inequalities that exists as per the vision of the NDR
This gives expression to the NDR that identifies the African people as the main motive force that must be lead the struggle for change and development.
Working Class Leadership:
SASCO is committed to supporting and reflecting in its programme of action the progressive aspirations of the working class and other sections of the economically exploited people of South Africa.
Cde President of SASCO, it is not an accident that YCLSA is invited to address your gatherings. Our relationship is organizational and political. To us you are our reliable all in the Progressive Youth Alliance that is confirmed by our shared perspective which was developed by 2010. "It is changing and dynamic political milieu that has continued to challenge SASCO and YCL to become and remain politically close each other from the outset while their collective leadership with the ANCYL has tended to be frosy if not antagonistic at times (this can be celebrated or encouraged, it is just how things have been). All our structures should be encouraged to work together as a matter of necessity. We should condemn any of our structures that contribute with our fractious relations with ANCYL.
For more an entire decade, after its unbanning, the SACP relied almost exclusively on SASCO as its recruitment ground for young communists, to the point that when the YCL was to be re-launched, the Party of the working class once more looked to current and former SASCO leaders such as Smiso Nkwanyana, Gilbert Kganyago, Jacob Mamabolo etc. to take the process forward of the re-birth of the YCL. As a result of its left-leaning posture, SASCO for years played a role of defacto YCL, in the absence of real makoya. The re-launch of the YCL essentially displaced SASCO from this role. This is why; it came as no surprise that nucleus of the YCL national leadership that emerged at the re-launch was formed around once more former SASCO leaders David Masondo and Buti Manamela.
Comrades we would like emphasize the importance of our relations to this policy conference and remind you that SASCO used to produce leaders to the YCLSA and SASCO has been refinery machinery to the YCLSA. This becomes the responsibility of the current SASCO generation to preserve that revolutionary duty.
Comrade President and delegates, in the interest of time, allow me to lift few areas that might of benefit for this policy conference. The location of our education system and who controls the entry and exit of our education system.
Allow me comrades to share with you our ten youth fronts that are on our Youth Manifesto we have just developed and manifesto that we will engage our Progressive Youth Alliance and later by our National Council that will be convened by the end of the year. This manifesto highlights the intentions, motives and the views of the Young Communist League of South Africa in advancing, deepening, and intensifying youth development in South Africa across the Ten Fronts. Here are the Ten Youth Fronts: Creating more jobs for the youth, National Youth Service , Improving access and success in education , Social cohesion and nation building , Youth enterprises and Cooperative development , Mentorship, Health and wellbeing , Youth and environment, Infrastructure and ICT for youth and Sport and Recreation.
The Location of our education system
First and foremost, literally speaking, there is nothing free in a capitalist mode of production. Our education system is responding to the needs and aspirations of the ruling class. It does not respond to the needs and aspirations of the exploited class. The core of any education system is curriculum. The content of curriculum of our education system is informed by ruling class. The basis of any curriculum becomes reflective of social class interests, which is by definition of social culture. Culture anyway is a way of life of society. Any society irrespective of class antagonisms has an economic system, communication system, rationality system, morality system, aesthetic system and value and norms system. Therefore curriculum does selection on systems. Obviously, curriculum reflects the ruling class ideas. A school from Grade A- to tertiary level reflects class interests of property owners.
Who controls the entry and exit in education?
Before I withdraw what I have not yet said, let me start by saying am not a racist and amongst what my organization is fighting for is non-racialism. On zooming closely on who controls the entry and exit in education one has to look closely on the administration i.e. Human Resource Departments at Universities and Colleges. We lift this issue as communist because as communists don't dream, we are scientific, the reality is that our Human Resources Departments at Universities and Colleges are managed by white people and those white people reflects interests of the ruling class.
The main aim of education is to inculcate values and norms of propertied class and for social change. Unfortunately the South African education derives on memory and its content is based on memory. If a learner or a student didn't master the content he/she won't go through. No certificate. No matter how brilliant a learner or student, if he/she has not gone through the system, if no certificate you won't be employed because you don't stick on the content prescribed you fail. Even the ruling class comes up with excuses that Universities are producing unemployable graduates, they use that excuse as a way to justify their failing system. Our education system is devoid of innovation and creativity. The entry and exit of our education system is controlled by the ruling class.
Cde President and delegates, even if you consider time, space and conditions of convening this policy conference you don't have a luxury of time. The question that arises, do we understand the conditions we find ourselves in and therefore what is it that we must do as the current generation that will be inherited by SASCO future generations. As we ponder to this critical question Karl Marx in the Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte in 1852 gives us a courage and said "Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language."
This is the revolutionary spirit that must prevail in this policy conference as you engage on policy issues that will transform and change our education system.
We say let's close ranks, lets unite and minimize what divide us and we further say close ranks SASCO focus on what unite you than what divide you.
As YCLSA, we pride ourselves to be friends of such a giant student organization, a student organization that has experienced turbulences and remained resilient and stayed to the course. We trust that you will deliberate on policy issues that will take SASCO forward and build SASCO even stronger and healthier so that it remains the spear to be handed over to many generations to come.
We wish our longstanding and reliable ally SASCO a very fruitful, robust and a successful policy conference.