There have been many painful things happening at UCT. One of the most painful was the destruction of the jobs of hundreds of workers. When it wrote about this, the University Paper agreed that there was pain. But the only pain it mentioned was the pain of the Vice Chancellor [Mamphela Ramphele – partner of the late Steve Biko, key figure in the Black Consciousness movement, now a director at the World Bank], the person who insisted on that destruction. Showing that she was a ruthless manager won her some admirers and created new opportunities for her. But the Paper also told us about the workers who were being retrenched.
It did not say a word about their pain. Instead it created a beautiful picture of new opportunities for them. They would get packages, training, redeployment opportunities at UCT, the chance to open small businesses. Maybe there were honest people at UCT and outside who believed the lies of the Paper. After all, this is meant to be a University which deals with knowledge and truth.
But we are asking those honest people now: what can you see with your own eyes. We can see what has happened with the Vice Chancellor. She is living now with her pain and being paid millions to spread the message of destruction that comes from the World Bank. Probably, she can survive with that pain quite well. But what about the workers whose pain the Paper did not mention, only their wonderful new opportunities?
Some of you did not open your eyes. None of you opened your mouths. Maybe some of you have heard the workers at UCT singing: What have we done. What have we done. We ask you now. What have you done. What have you done. Are you proud of your support for the destruction of people’s lives? Are your proud of your silence?