Students should not only fight government in their quest for free education, but also target the private sector, former SABC COO said at the Tshwane University of Technology in Soshanguve on Thursday.
"You should not just fight government for fees must fall, you should also fight for private sector to invest in young people," he said.
The theme of the event was radical economic transformation in education.
South Africa needed free and quality education for those who could not afford it, he said to applause.
Companies should employ students during their holidays to allow them to gain work experience. He called on the private sector to invest in tertiary education in townships.
He said that contrary to popular belief, he did not have a problem with education.
He lied about having matric when he applied to work for the SABC in Bloemfontein in 1995.
The number of people enrolling for university subjects should be determined by the demand for workers in that sector, to prevent "an overdose on education".
"It's fine for people to have degrees, but South Africa can't produce 5000 teachers if we only need 300. That is what results in unemployment. Let us produce the number we need.
'Father of transformation'
"I believe that all people should have a matric, and they should be able to choose their careers. We shouldn't channel everyone to one job. We don't only need doctors, we also need plumbers. Parents can't influence children to pick particular careers because, at the end of the day, all the qualification does is empower you. It doesn't do everything for you," he said.
Leaders of various student movements said the struggle for free, quality education for those who could not afford it needed to be realised in 2017.
Motsoeneng and other speakers criticised the burning of state property and institutions.
The South African Students Congress called Motsoeneng "the father of transformation". Its representative said they had chosen Motsoeneng to speak as he had implemented radical economic transformation with his requirement that the SABC's radio stations play 90% local music.
"The 90% local rule is like investing in your own children at home before going out and investing in other children," Motsoeneng said.
"Before the 90% rule, to be honest, I didn't know a lot of local music, but after it was introduced, I even forgot about international music," said one student.
"When you talk about education, it should unite all students in South Africa, whether you belong to a certain political party or not. Education can unite the nation," Motsoeneng said.