FEES MUST FALL STATEMENT
Wits Fees Must Fall (FMF) student movement and the ongoing occupation at Solomon Mahlangu House (formerly known as Senate House).
In accordance with the ongoing struggle for free quality education; Wits Fees Must Fall (WitsFMF) recognizes that registration fee and/ or upfront fee payment contributes to the increasing number of students who are denied access to education due to their economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Wits FMF is dedicated to ensuring that historically thus economically disadvantaged students enjoy the same right at equilibrium with the historically privileged. The fact of our impossible reality is that we cannot afford the payment of registration together so with tuition and residence fees. Symbolically so we protest against registrations continuing as normal in accordance with the greater goal that ought to be achieved which is one of attaining free quality education in higher learning institutions in our lifetime. We understand that there is ability for our demands to be met, however for as long as the system continues to be anti-black and anti-poor we will continue to fight. Free education seems impossible; however we staunchly believe that it is only right and just that the struggle continue until the goal of free education is attained.
The struggle for free education has been met with failure from management to meet our demands, one of them being no registration fee and/or upfront payment the across board. The nine point list of demands was handed over to management in the General Assembly Secondly and mostly importantly, the university has failed to honor its word in reference to financial exclusions despite promising us on various media platforms about the registration fee and financial exclusion, clearly they think we have amnesia.
The way we perceive it is that the Wits management offered us an illusion that we are on the same page hence our negotiations are all in good faith. But with the current situation it just confirms our long feared beliefs that we cannot trust such a structure that seeks to further inflict pain on black bodies through institutionalized racism in the form of financial exclusions, a ridiculous upfront fee that only a few can afford while the rest of us have to go to loan sharks in order to make ends meet and plenty other forms of institutionalized racism that excludes us black people. It this therefore imperative like we did last year when we persisted with in sourcing and refused to continue to learn before our parents are recognized as human beings not just a mere pawns that can be exploited whenever they feel like it. Due to the neoliberal nature of contemporary racial capitalism the outsourced workers had no prima facie relationality with the capitalist class as per crude logics of Marxist analysis of class struggles. The nexus of the relationship gave them no political currency under the discourses of trade union economism.
The nine point demands that we submitted to management last year November have thus far being partially met and with the most important points deliberately left dangling, the issue of scrapping the registration fee and financial exclusions still remain unresolved. The Wits Fees Must Fall students’ movement has been in conversation with other varsities who are part of the FMF movement and have thus far established a solid relationship in which at the end of the day we envisage a south Africa with free decolonized education .Our commitment will take us as far as not having an academic year at all until our demands are fully met.
This movement seeks to fight against anti-black practices of the institution in all its forms. We seek to rectify the structural and epistemic violence which has led to the academic and financial exclusion of black students, the exploitation of black workers and the generalized intellectual dishonor of black academics and also bridge the gap between whites and blacks which have been acquired by over 500 years of land dispossession and oppression throughout the world. We also do acknowledge that our struggles, even though geographically separated with our brothers and sisters beyond the shore of our beloved Africa, our struggles against anti-blackness doesn’t exist in isolation and we therefore seek for global solidarity from similar movements around the world like Black Lives Matter and Rhodes must fall Oxford. This leads us to the desire and agency to end life of the University of the Witwatersrand as we know it!
FROM FREE EDUCATION TO LAND APPROPRIATION! ALUTA CONTINUA!