Letter: Trollip doesn’t understand students’ struggle

On October 19 while listening to Algoa FM the voice of Athol Trollip, the EFF-sponsored mayor, towered through my sound system. Trollip was speaking about the farce of a memorandum which the city had signed with the illegitimate leaders of students in the form of the NMMU SRC, wherein he arrogantly stated that the memorandum still stands and they are fully committed to it as the city. He further stated that it was a minority of students who do not meet the requirements to write their exams that are pursuing the struggle for free, quality education.

Trollip needs to acquaint himself with the words of Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, when he correctly states that “there are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen”. The struggle for free, quality education needs to be understood within this context, that in essence it is a struggle which was bequeathed upon the generation of today by the generation of yesterday, whether rightly or wrongly so.

The utterances made by Trollip are not only unfortunate but morally reprehensible. These utterances are a manifestation of white privilege as well as a deliberate agenda to protect such a privilege, which in essence is anti-transformation as well as black dignity. The mayor, as a result of the political matrimony of the DA and EFF, presents the memorandum of the city and SRC as a legitimate document, while this memorandum subverts the genuine struggle embarked upon by the masses of downtrodden students by making available municipal properties for the purposes of examinations/study. This is a typical apartheid tactic of dividing as well as demobilising students.

The basis of this memorandum is the flawed DA solution to the current impasse, which does not take into consideration “black tax” which is inherent to us as black people, not that I would expect Trollip to understand. The very same students that Trollip is liquidating are the descendants of Mam’Ntlane, which he likes to popularly grandstand about.

What has become clear is that the students are leading themselves outside of the SRC. If Trollip was genuine, he would have engaged various student organisations in order to craft a proper way forward as well as have a memorandum which is informed by the realities which confront the students. Interestingly enough, the mayor is quiet on the criminalisation of student activists. His silence is also too loud on the militarisation of institutions of higher learning. It is a well-known fact that students have been provoked by the police.

I challenge the EFF, which allegedly proclaims leftist politics, to affirm or reject this memorandum. I also call upon Trollip to scrap that memorandum as it is fundamentally flawed. I call on Trollip to retract his utterances which he made on Algoa FM and apologise. I further call on Trollip to go out and engage the children of Mam’Ntlane through their various organisations and disabuse himself from party politics, because this struggle cuts across political party divides.