State tries to crush worker-student unity in struggle for free education.
Two leading activists of the #OutsourcingMustFall movement, both members of the Workers and Socialist Party (WASP), are facing legal harassment for their role in supporting the struggle for free education.
Austin Mofya, also an organiser for the Tshwane branch of the GIWUSA union, is due to appear in Atteridgville magistrates court on Friday on trumped-up charges of “public violence”. These are old charges relating to Mofya’s role in supporting a strike of outsourced workers at the Tshwane University of Technology at the start of the year. The charges were dropped at the time, less than 24 hours after they were laid.
Mametlwe Sebei has been ordered to present himself to the Sunnyside police station this afternoon. Sebei was the co-convenor of the student march to Union Buildings that took place on 20 October. The police declared the march illegal in advance but allowed it to proceed when students, workers and other supporters of free education assembled in numbers. The march was overwhelmingly disciplined, including the organisation of marshals to ensure discipline.
It is not a coincidence that the state has resurrected the charges against Mofya in the midst of the student protests for free education or decided to try and make an example of Sebei. Austin and Sebei, alongside #OMF, Tshwane GIWUSA branch and WASP have played an important role in mobilising workers and working class communities in solidarity with the struggle for free education. This included uniting the strike of Sheraton Hotel workers for decent wages with the student march to Union Buildings. This is why they are now being targeted.
But “an injury to one is an injury to all”. The thousands of students who took part in the march to Union Buildings, the thousands of Tshwane workers who have marched under the banner of #OutsourcingMustFall and the Sheraton Hotel workers will be mobilised to defend these activists. It is an attack on the whole movement.