For immediate release

11 March 2021


The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers (NUPSAW) is saddened by the death of a bystander at the hands of South African Police Services (SAPS) yesterday during the #Asinamali protest at the Wits University. We strongly condemn police brutality and stand in solidarity with students’ struggle for a free, quality, equal and decolonised education system.


Students need support, especially while facing extreme challenges made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. All students must be allowed to register at no cost to access tertiary education for our people to be liberated through education. Knowledge is power, and youth development cannot happen if students are starved of human development.


The cost of university education, limiting for many Black students, has become a symbol of South Africa’s inequalities more than 20 years after the end of apartheid.  The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NFSAS) shortfall of R5.6bn this year just exposed the government’s scam regarding “free education” for all. The financial division of students is a result of our government’s anti-poor austerity budgeting.


The doors of higher learning continue to remain closed for poor and working-class children. It is despicable that when the students take to the streets to advocate for equal opportunities, the SAPS response is to shoot to kill. Police brutality is endemic to the long and painful history of economic and state-sponsored abuse of people of colour. Police brutality, and the structural militarisation that feed it, must end. We strongly urge that the right to protest be protected.


NUPSAW calls on the government to end the financial suspension of students in all tertiary learning institutions. We also call for justice for the man who lost his life yesterday, and we extend our condolences to his family.


In solidarity, we will be joining the SAFTU picket today at the Johannesburg Central Police Station to support WITS students in the ongoing and urgent struggle for free education.


For more information:

Kagiso Makoe

NUPSAW Media Officer

083 712 1614


Success Mataitsane

General Secretary

082 553 8465