SAFTU Calls For Nzimande To Step Down

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The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has called for Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande to resign. 


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The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) has called for Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande to resign. 
The trade union released a statement, making reference to Nzimande's comments about students protesting for free education. 
"In the middle of a battle that is being waged against financial exclusions in pursuit of free education, the ‘communist’ minister, Blade Nzimande, has recklessly likened the students’ efforts in exercising their democratic right to demand the basic education right, a “soap” opera.
"It is disconcerting for the minister to be calling the fight for free education and against financial exclusions a “Bold and Beautiful soapie”. For a minister who is the General Secretary of the Communist Party to make remarks that undermine the efforts of students to free quality education and underplay the need for such education is shameful." said SAFTU. 
This is not the first time the Minister has come under fire for his comments. According to SAFTU's statement, in 2016 Minister Nzimande made a comment saying “students must fall”.
This was at the height of the Fees Must Fall protests that were aimed at making higher education free. 
SAFTU wants Minister Nzimande to face consequences for looking down on the efforts of students.
"For belittling the genuine struggles for access to the basic service, education, SAFTU calls on the ‘communist’ Blade Nzimande to resign from his position, because he is now an agent of austerity beating students into accepting government’s programme of stealing their future. His fickle dismissive remarks equating the student struggle to a soap opera is reminiscent of one Marie Antoinette. The consequences of such irresponsible comments may yet come to haunt him." said SAFTU. 
Minister Nzimande has called for student protests to come to an end. The protests began in early March, as students raised their frustrations with finding themselves in ongoing student debt. 
The Minister is afraid that the protests will lead to more disruptions to the academic year, which was already made shorter due to the lockdown. 
"I must say we are quite anxious. The shutdown must be called off as soon as possible because we are worried that the academic year is already short and lest make use of all the opportunities that we have, all sides, that's what I've been adding as minister." said Nzimande.
He said government is now in the process of working on a plan to identify students who owe debt. This will help government identify ways the issue of student debt can be resolved.

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