The community and young people of Mpumalanga ought to join me in passing sincere congratulatory messages to the EFFSC branch leadership for their clean-sweep SRC victory in South Africa’s youngest University.
UMP may not be a university of prestige, yet, however these election results are very important to note because of a few niggling reasons. On the 22nd of September 2016, UMP’s internal Independent electoral commission announced the university’s SRC election results which declared that the EFFSC had won 7 of the 7 seats in the SRC, comprehensively walloping all its opponents, including the ANC-aligned South African Students Congress (sasco).
This victory comes after weeks of solid preparation on the ground and in university halls by relentless activists of the movement. Perhaps what makes the victory sweeter is the fact that the EFFSC operates from a zero-budget. The zero-budget reality of the movement means that unlike our opponents, we cannot buy a bulk of our party regalia, most notably t-shirts, to hand out to students in exchange for their vote.
Our opponents, who are backed by the ANC are known in all the country’s institutions for always “going big” during SRC elections. These lads do not only hand out free yellow t-shirts but they also host major braai’s wherein they buy meat and booze for students. This, we can only imagine, is drawn from the ANC culture of either hosting parties during national election season and inviting celebrities to perform (and do the infamous dabbing lol) wearing party colours or the handing out of food parcels to destitute communities in exchange for their vote.
It was not any different at the university of Mpumalanga, but in the midst of all of this, our comrades soldiered on and continued preaching the message of hope to the students.
The Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command, formed on the 16th of June 2015, is the student wing of the EFF. Its chief mandate, among other things, is to mobilize students in institutions of higher learning across South Africa under the banner and gospel of Socialism as a method towards effectively doing away with the unholy triple challenges which have plagued our society for a long time; i.e Poverty, Unemployment and Inequality. This SRC victory is, therefore important because it indicates that students resonate with the message of economic freedom in our lifetime as encompassed by our radical policies as succinctly captured by the EFF’s founding manifesto and the subsequent 7 non-negotiable pillars.
In essence, this overwhelming victory is not only a rejection of our opponents, but it is the validation of our shared aspirations as a nation and the vehement confirmation of our July 2013 prediction that sooner rather than later, the people of South Africa will realize that we are toiling under a neo-liberal situation whose only object is to implement the agenda of global capital.
Given the current #FeesMustFall climate, one can be accused by fellow activists for celebrating an SRC elections victory. Of course, some activists tend to trivialise SRC elections because of a limited perception that SRC elections are peripheral and don’t speak to the question of broader student struggles but I insist that all elections are important especially for a revolutionary movement because they afford us an opportunity to gauge whether or not we are finding traction among the masses of our people. The very masses, on whose behalf we are waging this revolution. It is against this backdrop, that one was sincerely unsettled by the election results at Wits and the lacklustre performance at some TUT campuses. As revolutionaries, it is our task to persuade and lobby society towards the revolutionary project, when we lose it means we are not doing our job correctly and when we win, as we have won in Mpumalanga, it means we have done the revolution a huge favour.
It must further be noted that this election victory comes in a province that is widely considered to be an ANC-stronghold. More specifically, the university’s two campuses are geographically located in areas where the ANC performed remarkably well in the August 3 local government elections.
It is not a secret that the ANC continues to tighten its grip over power in this province through the serious dispensing of patronage and mafia-like doings of its provincial leader and Premier, David Mabuza. The porous state affairs in the opposition is also not assisting the course, where you have a Democratic Alliance that is content with its stagnant white vote and an EFF that has had to undergo the set-back of some its founding leaders resigning and various other party leadership changes.
Put into context, the EFFSC, by this decisive SRC victory, has done what some may consider to be unthinkable in a “DD Mabuza’s province”, it has certainly outdone both the DA and the EFF itself. A lesson we have learned from the local government elections is that, if indeed we want to ultimately capture the South African state, we cannot do it without winning in Mpumalanga and to do this, we must defeat the elephant known as “DDM003MP”, that is, the solid ANC of DD Mabuza.
To me, it is clear that the only group capable assisting the EFF to make tangible and definite inroads in Mpumalanga is the EFFSC battalion.
I have no doubt that the incoming SRC leadership will lead students of UMP with pride, dignity, diligence and revolutionary vigour. This, I can say with confidence, judging from our neat track-record in institutions like VUT, Unisa Pretoria, NWU Vaal, NWU Mahikeng, UNIVEN, UL and others wherein the EFFSC has won with an overwhelming majority. Kneel down, put your ears on the ground and listen carefully, it shall tell you who the EFFSC is. Many congratulations once more!
* Sindane is a member of the EFF Student Command (EFFSC) and a student activist. He is a final year LLB Student and an African Communist. (He writes in his personal capacity)