Nationalisation of the country’s mines would solve all issues of financial exclusion on campus, the ANC Youth League at Wits said this week.

“We believe that nationalisation would benefit students the most. The wealth of this country should be in the hands of everybody, and if it were, we would not have a situation where academically deserving students don’t go to school because they are not funded,” Itumeleng Mafatshe, coordinator of the ANCYL’s working class team at Wits, said.

“We are going to find a way to buy them out, and the sooner we nationalise mines the sooner we will realise free education,” said outgoing ANCYL Wits president Kholofelo Selepe.

Agreeing with the national ANCYL’s stance on nationalisation, Mafatshe said that although it is not a new issue, it’s an important one. “There is a lot to gain here and we need to think tactically and relook at its implementation,” she said.

However, not all students are supportive of this call.

“We shouldn’t nationalise mines, because our government can’t even run state parastatals efficiently, how are they going they run the mines?” asked Themba Khumalo.

“A better solution would be to fix up the current state of the parastatals so that government can prove their capacity to run these,” he said, adding that cadre deployment has failed and the government now needs to find new ways of fixing current problems before taking on new ones.

Refuting the ANCYL’s claim that students will benefit, Khumalo said that “there is no guarantee students will see even one cent of that money”.

“The parastatals such as Eskom and the SABC are being run into the ground. Their profits aren’t being distributed, so how will those of the mines be any different?” he asked.

Mafatshe said the ANCYL’s main objective on campus is to lobby people under the ANC and “conscientise” students.

Our primary concern is the issue of the financial exclusion of deserving students, but, by virtue of us being on campus, we are not excluded from things happening off campus, we fight battles that affect the youth as a whole. We are black and working class, and this doesn’t change because we’re at Wits,” she said, adding that although nationalisation was not their main priority on campus, its remains a priority.