Who is SAUS and what you need to know about them

With all the excitement around #FeesMustFallReloaded, there’s one name that seems to be at the center of it all: The South African Union of Students (SAUS), but who are they?

SAUS is a student union that is elected by SRC’s from universities across the country and therefore represent all Student Representative Councils in the country.

They have been speaking for students at the Fees Commision’s public hearings which began last week and on Sunday SAUS released a statement calling for mass meetings across universities on the issue of fee increments.

According to the SAUS Secretary General Sthembiso Ka-Ndlovu the union was established at Stellenbosch University in 2006, it’s main purpose was so that students had a single representative body in the higher education sector.

They union is said to be a national and non-partisan umbrella body of student representation in the country.

However people on social media have been questioning the legitimacy of SAUS and the fact that it is mostly comprised of Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) members, an organisation made up of mostly ANC-affiliated youth organisations.

Ka-Ndlovu says there is a heavy PYA presence in SAUS because SRC’s elect the members and “of the 25 Universities about 19 of them are SASCO-led.”

Who is in the executive?

President: Avela Mjajubala – Durban University of Technology

Deputy President: Moza Motlalepula – North West University

Secretary General: Sthembiso Ka-Nkosi – Tshwane University of Technology

Deputy Secretary General: Fasiha Hassan – Wits University

Treasurer: Misheck Mugabe – Fort Hare University.

People who can be nominated to represent students in SAUS have to have been part of the SRC in the last two years prior to being elected.

The union currently has 15 members.

Related stories:

Wits Vuvuzela: SAUS to begin mobilising from Monday as fee increase looms, August 14, 2016

Wits Vuvuzela: Treasury says no money to fund zero percent fee increase, August 14, 2016

Student Union wants direct link to the president

The South African Union of Students (SAUS) has said they will be looking to discuss issues of free education directly with the Presidency than through the Commission of Inquiry into Free Higher Education.

This comes after the first day of the Commission’s public hearings in Pretoria.

SAUS deputy secretary general Fasiha Hassan said they wanted the direct line because they were disappointed with the commission’s lack of political power to discuss issues of free higher education.

“SAUS is now looking towards creating a direct line with the president of the republic,  particularly because this is a presidential commission and when we raise issues, stuff around decomodification, stuff around how to realise free education, we are often told that we now have to take it back to the president,” said Hassan.

She added that “If we are not going to be talking to a commission without political will then we have to take it straight to the top.”

Student activist Tasneem Essop also questioned the Commission’s purpose on Twitter.

“I don’t understand, surely #FeesCommission should be finding a feasible model for free education & not checking if free education is feasible,” she said.

The commission of inquiry was established in January by President Jacob Zuma following #FeesMustFall protests where students demanded free higher education and training. The commission was expected to submit their findings in eight months, however two weeks ago the Presidency said they would extend the due date to next year June 30.

The commission is expected to submit a preliminary report on or before November 15. The public hearings are set to continue today in Pretoria and will end in September in Kimberly.

Related Stories

Wits Vuvuzela: Students reaffirm call for free education, August 10, 2016

Wits Vuvuzela: Wits University invites calls to influence fees , April 30,2016