Neighbourgoods customers out in the cold following city inspection

Braamfontein's Neighbourgoods market remained closed and empty till 11am this morning. Photo: Roxanne Joseph.

Braamfontein’s Neighbourgoods market remained closed and empty till 11am this morning. Photo: Roxanne Joseph.

Joburg’s biggest inner-city attraction, the Neighbourgoods market, left customers locked out this morning as employees protested inside the space in Braamfontein.

Over an hour after it was meant to open, workers started a protest against the closure as customers stood outside in the cold, following a surprise visit from City of Johannesburg inspectors which left the market close to a permanent shut-down.

Adam Levy, owner of the market, arrived to deal with the situation only to be told the market does not meet certain regulations and requirements and cannot continue to operate.

Food stalls were required to remove most of their gas cannisters from the premises and some even had to move their set-ups from downstairs to the open area upstairs.

Owners of clothing and jewellery stalls which were all set up and ready for the market to open at 9am, were angry as they felt any food and safety issues should not affect them.

“I have to pay my rent,” said Christopher Wagner of second-hand clothing store Asseblief. “If they shut down the market I’m setting up on the side of the street outside.”

According to Wagner, in the three years that he has been selling his clothing here, the City has shut the Market down at least three times.

With a construction site right next door to the ground level of the building, inspectors said it was “unhealthy and unhygienic to eat here,” according to Karabo Mashishi of the leather brand Wolf & Maiden.

Some customers made their way to a local coffee shop to wait for the market to open its gates while others left in frustration.

“I’ve heard that the market has had incidents like this before,” said Clive Fortuine, a regular Neighbourgoods customer. “Last year this happened a few times, apparently there were too many people inside.”

The market eventually opened just before 11am and although security initially closely monitored the number of people they let inside, it filled up quickly and business carried on as usual.


“Incoherence” is the main challenge to economic growth: first OR Tambo panel

PLAN PANEL: (left to right) Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita (CEO of Ichor Coal NV), Khulekani Mathe (Head of NPC Secretariat), Siki Mgabadeli (Moderator), Neil Coleman (COSATU strategist), Adam Habib (Wits Vice-Chancellor), agree on consensus and coherence for the NDP to work.    Photo: Zelmarie Goosen.

PLAN PANEL: (left to right) Nonkululeko Nyembezi-Heita (CEO of Ichor Coal NV), Khulekani Mathe (Head of NPC Secretariat), Siki Mgabadeli (Moderator), Neil Coleman (COSATU strategist), Adam Habib (Wits Vice-Chancellor), agree on consensus to take the country forward with the NDP.                                                                                          Photo: Zelmarie Goosen.


The main challenge to economic growth—as set out in South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP)—is “incoherence”, according to some experts at Wits on Thursday.

Vice-chancellor Prof Adam Habib called the NDP “incoherent” and said “trade-offs” were needed. The private and public sector as well as trade unions needed to come together and make concessions in order for the NDP to work.

“We need a pact agreement on the NDP, we need a coherent plan that involves the business, labour, government and society,” said Habib.

“The NDP was ideologically driven rather than practical.”

Providing a business perspective, Nonkululeo Nyembezi, CEO of Ichor Coal NV, said there needs to be “frankness between constituents and people in government need to be open”.

The panellists said the reason for the disagreements about the NDP was a lack of consensus on its policies.

Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) strategist Neil Coleman said there was no broad consensus with the implementation of the NDP “and the NDP cannot be implemented without consent from and coherence with the workers.”

Coleman said the NDP was “ideologically driven rather than practical.”


The panelists also argued over whether the NDP would create jobs and whether these jobs would be sustainable.

National Planning Committee Secretariat head Khulekani Mathe said the plan’s goal was to bring unemployment levels below six percent by creating 11 million new jobs by 2030.

However, Coleman countered that these would be unsustainable, low-paying jobs that would threaten economic stability. He said the youth wage subsidy would result in wage repression.

“Repressing wages of first time workers will deepen inequality and economy with not grow,” said Coleman.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, who was present in the audience, told the panel that wage repression would lead to more income inequality and instability in the country.

“When you depress wages of the youth, and whilst you say nothing and in fact celebrate the fact that the CEO’s continues to smile to the banks and take their monies all over the world, then you know that you’re  going to work on political instability,” said Vavi.

Mathe disagreed the NDP would result in wage repression “there’s no way government would impoverish the people by doing that.”

He said the NDP instead supported “wage incentives”.

“What we do propose is a wage incentive, popularly known as the employment tax incentive, which is to try and encourage employers to employ more young people,” Mathe said.

The panellists agreed that income inequality was a problem but disagreed on whether the NDP would reduce the gap between rich and poor.

Coleman said that the NDP aims to decrease the Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality in a country, to 0.6 percent. This would still leave South Africa the most unequal country in the world “and this is our ambition,” he said.

The discussion on Thursday was the first of the ten-part OR Tambo Debate Series hosted by the Wits School of Governance.

EFF launches its intellectual coup d’ etat

CALM BEFORE THE LAUNCH: Advocate Dali Mpofu and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema sitting on the Great Hall stage of Wits University during the launch of the EFF book "The Coming Revolution" on Thursday, July 25, 2014. Photo: Luke Matthews

CALM BEFORE THE LAUNCH: Advocate Dali Mpofu (left) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema (right) sitting on the Great Hall stage of Wits University during the launch of the EFF book The Coming Revolution on Thursday. Photo: Luke Matthews

A revolutionary missile was launched yesterday when the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) gathered in the Wits Great Hall to celebrate Commissar Floyd Shivambu’s book The Coming Revolution on Thursday night.

EFF leader Julius Malema delivered the keynote address on behalf of the absent author Shivambu who was still in Cape Town. “We wrote a book because we do not want our story to be told by some white person”, said Malema.

Economic Revolutions

Malema said that the book addresses economic freedom looking particularly at nationalization, noting that he has been previously misinterpreted on the issue.

“I’m agitated by the fact that people love writing books about nationalization. You go and you fetch a book by Van Vicker who will speak on behalf of Malema’’, he said.

The ruling party African National Congress (ANC) was not left out of Malema’s address who accused the ruling party of “selling-out” to economic investors and not putting the concerns of people at the forefront.

“The economy looks the way it looked in the colonial times”, said Malema who explained that the EFF’s economic outlook outlined in the book advocates working class concerns.

Intellectual Riot 

The party’s Gauteng provincial chair, Dali Mpofu said that the book consisted of three parts, “manifesto, election and an interview with the commander and chief”, referring to an eleven-page interview conducted by Shivambu and Janet Smith with the party leader. Malema jokingly referred to the interview as “the longest interview of my life”.

Mpofu who contributed to writing the foreword of the book said, “very little [few] political parties have achieved what this little baby has achieved in twelve months”.

Wits EFF student leader Vuyani Pambo noted the intellectual capacity of the organisation saying, “In case you had any doubts – intellectual production is part of this revolutionary duty”.

The book launch was part of the EFF’s first year anniversary of their political existence which will officially take place this weekend.













969 Film Festival


FESTIVAL: “Hamlet” one of the productions from the 969 festival was chosen among the top 20 shows selected from the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. Photo: Zelmarie Goosen

Joburgers looking for a taste of the Grahamstown National Arts Festival have until Sunday to plunge into 969 festival at the Wits Theatre.

The festival showcases 20 of the top performances from art festivals main stages as well as the fringe.

Wits Theatre director Gita Pather called 969 festival a success with sold out performances all week. She said organising the festival is a lot of hard work but her job is made easier because she selects productions only from the Grahamstown festival to bring to Wits.

“This university is about collaboration, about pushing the boundaries of the work we do in whatever we do … and the Wits Theatre is about providing an incubator for new talent,” Pather said.

One of the key changes made this year was moving 969 festival closer to the national event in Grahamstown.

Pather said this year’s festival gained a unique aspect because it has been filled with immensely talented people and different plays which had a mix of dance, drama, physical theatre and stand-up comedy. “I think all theatres and all festivals reflect their artistic directors and their particular bent towards the arts,” said Pather.

One of the productions for the 969 festival, Hamlet directed by Jenine Collocott, had its first performance on Wednesday night with a good turnout. Collocott describes the play as a comedia delighte of the Shakespearean Hamlet.

Hamlet is a 35-minute performance which consists of comedy, physical theatre, and improvisation which is stylistically inspired by the story of Hamlet. It features actors James Cairns, Jaques De Silva and Taryn Bennett.

A student production, Ira, is a physical theatre performance which explores the strange nature of human emotions and how we express or supress them.

It is directed by Wits drama students Daniel Geddes and Mark Tatham. Geddes said he felt good about performing in this year’s 969 festival as it was his first time.


“It’s exciting and it’s also nice to have that it is also recognised in a bigger platform outside of student work,” he said.

They have also recently performed at film festivals in Grahamstown and Pretoria but Geddes says he is glad to be home at Wits because he enjoys the support of his peers.

“It’s nice coming back to Wits where your peers are kind of keen to see it,” Geddes said.

The 969 Festival was originally funded by the Johannesburg Development Agency and Wits University to give locals the opportunity to experience the national arts festival without traveling the 969 kilometres to Grahamstown.

Wyatt spins tunes in Orbit

In the audience, people tapped their feet, moved their heads side to side and swayed their waists left and right to the rhythm of Marcus Wyatt’s Jazz Jam Session at The Orbit on Tuesday.

Wyatt, the renowned jazz trumpeter, was born and bred in Port Elizabeth. He has played in South Africa, toured throughout southern Africa and performed for audiences around the globe.  But on Tuesday, he gave Braamfontein a piece of his art.

Wyatt’s body became a bellweather for his own music. When he played a slow piece his body responded to the rhythm and he closed his eyes at occasions. However, when he played an upbeat piece his entire body danced to the excitement of the rhythm and sound of the instruments coming together as one. He smiled and constantly looked up, facing the ceiling as he moved across the stage and then stopped to sway down and up again.

TRUMPET KING: Marcus Wyatt performs at The Orbit, leaving his audience in awe.                Photo: Lutho Mtongana

TRUMPET KING: Marcus Wyatt performs at The Orbit, leaving his audience in awe.
Photo: Lutho Mtongana

Accompanied by vocalist Tutu Puoane, an artist and fellow graduate of the University Of Cape Town College Of Music, they performed two bluesy and soothing pieces. Together they brought the house in awe and the audience could not help but stand up in ovation, clapping and whistling to the collaborated piece they played, which had silenced the audience for the duration of the two songs.

Puoane had the audience eating out of the palm of her hand. When she broke into song, the audience roared with applause and when she gradually got softer, the audience slowly followed suit reaching a point of complete silence. When Wyatt blew the trumpet to what he called one of his “difficult” songs, he blew effortlessly and with ease. Puoane has also travelled around Africa performing her album Mama Africa which she wrote in honour of Miriam Makeba.

Wyatt has performed in small corner cafes to playing side by side with music greats Makeba,   Abdullah Ibrahim and Jimmy Dludlu.

With his music, Marcus has not only made a name for himself but he has created a memory for all those who come to see him play.

The warm and cosy venue was flooded with couples, friends reuniting and a group of older men celebrating  a friend’s 68th birthday with a glass of red wine and a meal while watching the playful and yet honest performance of Wyatt.

Wyatt’s peace and tranquility resonated in the room while maintaining a light-hearted atmosphere of fun and laughter among his audience. When he performed he engaged and interacted in light conversations with the crowd showing his rather humorous side.

Wyatt will play again at The Orbit next week Tuesday for his last Jam Session in Braamfontein.

COOL KID: Bookstore “bookie”- Moshe Mashela

Photo: Lameez Omarjee

Photo: Lameez Omarjee

With dreads hanging over his eyes and a backpack, Moshe Mashela looks like a typical student.  However, this third year BCom Law student has a cool job as part-time staff manager at a bookstore.

What are some of the challenges you face in juggling a part-time job and university?

The biggest challenge is time and energy. You have less time for school, but you manage your time properly.  Luckily, shifts are flexible.

 What are some of the difficulties of the job?

It’s retail so there are difficult customers. The worst ones try to get their way by shouting at or insulting staff. One of their favourite lines is: “Call your manager.” Most people are nice and reasonable.  The women are pretty decent, although you sometimes get hit on by old men and women, which is not cool.

A challenge is when people describe books they are looking for too vaguely. We just plain don’t have a mental index of blue books with red writing about a lady or a cat, so we usually tell them there’s not much we can do without a title or an author, or a key word at least. No matter how vague a description, we’ll still do our best to help them find it.

 What are some of the best things about this job?

Interacting with people. You meet really nice people at bookstores and you have to get to know them to know what kind of books they like, and recommend something else they might like.  You also learn a lot from them. They end up recommending books to you. The staff, which has become more of a family than anything else. The books, obviously the books. And, I’m not going to lie, it helps to have an income.

 Any funny stories while you’ve been at work?

There’s this little boy, he sincerely thinks that he’s a wizard, and is convinced that we’re hiding our “real” spell books somewhere, and keeps asking for them. There was a lady once who asked for a book she saw in a dream. People sometimes get mixed up and ask for books by Jane Eyre, or when the next installment of Anne Frank’s diary will be released.

Witsies react to change of awarding Law supplementary exams

Early Preparation: First week of the second semester and already  Michael Fellington is studying. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

Early Preparation: First week of the second semester and already Michael Fellington is studying. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

Law students have mixed reactions to an announcement that they will no longer be able to write supplementary exams, provided that they are in their final year.

The thought of repeating a year if you fail an exam has left some Law students worried about the length of their degree.

Sanele Maluleke, 4th year LLB, said: “I don’t think it’s fair because the degree itself is hard to attain. In first year you get students who’d get 48% and 49% and need the supp to qualify for the next year. So this has an impact on the duration of when you finish your degree. I mean supps are what actually saves most students because not every student can be an A student”.

In May, an e-mail was sent to all students at the School of Law announcing that “from 2014, after the June exams, going forward the School of Law will only award supplementary exams to final year students in the LLB degree”.

Final year students will be allowed to write a supplementary examination in one course they have failed with a mark of 40%- 49%. If a student fails more than one course, he/she will have to repeat that course the following year.

First to third year students who achieve less than 50% will have to repeat the course the following year.

Zinzile Ndziba, 4th year LLB, complained that the decision “was just thrown at everyone”.

“There was no substantiating [it], it’s just something people have to accept,” Ndziba said.

“It’s not fair,” said 3rd year LLB student Anastasia Thomaids. “Supplementary exams give you pretty much a second chance when you get into an exam and fail it. Not getting that supplementary exam means that you not only don’t get a second chance to write the exam but it means that you have to repeat the course the next year and have to pay extra.”

Quality over quantity?

Other students, however, endorsed the decision based on quality over quantity.

“[I’m] Totally okay with it. That’s why we are at this institution, we’re number one now so I’m cool with it. To meet standards,” said Moswaredi Matabane, 3rd year LLB.

In the same breath, 3rd year LLB student Lis Ndlovu said: “I do think that in the long run it will produce a better quality of students. Essentially, you will work harder instead of working towards getting that 47% or 49% in the hopes of a supplementary exam. It may seem unfair but I understand the benefit that it has for the Law School and the calibre of students that the Law School sends out into the world.”

While the quality over quantity debate seems attractive to some students, Maluleke begs to differ. “I know that there’s a thing for keeping up the standard but I don’t think that it should be at the expense of the students that are in the very university that is putting them on the map,” said Maluleke

Deputy head of school, Prof. Mtende Mhango, said the decision was based on research and recommendations made by the faculty.

Assistant Dean of Commerce, Law and Management, Linda Spark is the main person behind the research conducted for the Senate Teaching and Learning Committee.

“I have presented it [research] to SET who sent it back to faculties and is still being considered. This research is part of a university wide investigation into supps and is still work in progress”, said Spark

Law Student Council (LSC) academic officer Mfundo Mdluli said: “We are engaged with talks with management. We are waiting for feedback which we are expecting by the end of the week.” Asked what kind of talks the LSC is having with management, Mdluli said he’d rather “wait until all is done and there is progress” before he discloses what the LSC is doing regarding the outcry.

Q & A with Debora Patta

South African journalist Debora Patta. Photo: Provided

South African journalist Debora Patta. Photo: Provided

Journalist Debora Patta is a familiar name in South Africa after more than 20 years in broadcast news. She has covered a variety of stories, including the trial of Oscar Pistorius and the kidnapping of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls in Chibok. She talks justice and media to Wits Vuvuzela:

Given your experience in the media, how has the Oscar Pistorius trial being televised changed the face of open justice in South Africa?

What it’s done is it has allowed South Africans the opportunity to understand for themselves how the judicial system works. The interesting thing for me, I would get a lot of tweets from South Africans who didn’t understand the basics and would ask questions like: “Why is Barry Roux talking all the time”, “Why is there no jury system?” Perhaps because they have gained their understanding of legal processes from American television.

Has the Oscar trial set a high standard for what South Africans can expect out of our justice system?

The televising of the Oscar trial was very important because it gave South Africans an opportunity to see how justice can be done at its very best. Now bear in mind that is not the experience of the average South African. A lot of South Africans do not have the experience that Oscar Pistorius had with exceptionally paid and skilled advocates like Barry Roux defending him, the very best prosecutor put on the case. Every element of the case has been tested and re-tested and scrutinised over and over again. But this is the best case scenario and in a constitutional democracy as South Africa, this is the kind of judiciary that we should expect and South Africans should demand.

Debora, you covered the #BringBackOurGirls campaign in Nigeria. Do you think that is has received more media attention than the Oscar trial?

#BringBackOurGirls, in my opinion that is actually a far more important story. Because what it’s profiling is a situation that’s continued in Nigeria for many years now, it’s only gained international interest because of the number of girls that were abducted in April. Over 200 Chibok girls. That is why it gained traction in that sense but the story itself has been around for a long time and it’s actually to our shame as the media that we haven’t covered it more proficiently in the past. The hashtag itself garnered a lot of criticism, I think it was important because it focused worldwide attention via social media on the plight of the Chibok girls.

What has it been like working on the two most controversial events of 2014 and the international exposure that has followed?

I think the Oscar Pistorius case is not the most worthy journalistic story, let me put it like that, on some levels it’s a fairly tabloid story. At the end of the day it’s one rich white man’s quest for justice and we’ve spent an exorbitant amount of time covering it … Whether that’s right or wrong is another question.

SLICE OF LIFE: Quest to find thyself through Sunday morning epiphanies

Sunday morning epiphanies are always good for bargaining with your truths. Surely it has to do with the redemptive quality religion has attached to this day. Anyway, it feels as though the Sundays in my 20s are loaded with lessons thick and fast and not enough hot shoes, great sex and the no parents telling you what to do.

I am not sure how I believed I’d have life figured out in my 20s. Or myself.  I am starting to believe it was a side effect of Oprah afternoons, Iyanla’s books and the quietness that refuses to settle in my head.  All I know is I am not the only one with a minor OCD complex to tightly thread my life and feel an unwavering sense of control and certainty.

The business of living is never really “easy like a Sunday morning”.

The business of living is never really “easy like a Sunday morning”. Growing pains simply will not allow it. But a quick reflection reminded me that I am in the second semester of a postgrad degree I am passionate about. Life next year is promising to be pretty dandy. So really, what is up with the tightness in the centre of my chest?  The quarter-life crisis of the modern day homo sapien is what’s happening. Anxiety is our biggest enemy and so is the pop psychology that is constantly urging us to “find ourselves”.

Thabile Manala

There is nothing wrong with waking up every morning interrogating your own existence, choosing the kind of life that is constantly asking the hard questions; attempting to find yourself at every trajectory life calls a lesson. It is necessary, in fact, it’s exactly the kind of living we ought to be doing. But goodness gracious, can we try a little tenderness? Tracee Ellis Ross said: “I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.”

So why are we a generation saturated with so much angst? We are so uncomfortable with the necessary pauses. The moments when you don’t know, when you fail, when you make a mistake. We ride the highs too high and the lows too low – too much intensity, not enough patience.  Of course the proverbial question of “who I am?” was never going to find a definition this soon. At the very most, my living has to open me up. Existential complexes can be really vain. But that’s mainly because the world has drilled an aspiration of perfect facades in our brains.

There are Sunday mornings where I miss Amy Winehouse. To me, she was every woman and every man. Her talent was condensed in her flawed humanness.  She was authentic about how heavily she loved, how much pain she’d seen, the reality of finding who she was. All of this through the gift of lyrics. For me, Amy always sang the truths that I was sometimes embarrassed to think to myself. I don’t mean to romanticise her fall, but the grey-area person in me saw the light in the frailty of her druggie days. I think the more attractive thing was that she was unapologetic – when your mistakes are evident to the world, modesty can be pathetic.

I’m learning that audacity is a principle of survival. Sure, I don’t know it all and neither am I all that. But when peeling the layers of who you are – sometimes winging it as you go along is the only real way to fly.

Netball league teams eye coveted title

Going up the ranks: Goal Scorer Miya Mathaphela (left) from Medhurst during a game against Jubilee which saw them earning a 25-9 victory. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

Going up the ranks: Goal Scorer Miya Mathaphela (left) from Medhurst during a game against Jubilee which saw them earning a 25-9 victory. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

The top three Wits Netball Internal League (WNIL) teams are not planning on backing down until they get the coveted title once the season resumes next week Tuesday.

This semester will see all teams continuing to prove why they are the best at what they do.

This of course won’t come without a fight, as the other teams attempt to dethrone the Medics who are the current defending champions since 2011.

“We’re only coming back stronger than we were before,” said Medics captain, Florencia Mnisi.

“We strive to be the best. In doing so, we’ve got to keep improving our skills and being better than we were before.”

Medics are leading with 12 points followed by the new residence team, Noswal Hall, and Medhurst, both also with 12 points on the log. What puts Medics in the lead is their goal difference (GD) score sitting at 129 compared to Noswal Hall at 66 and 64 for Medhurst.

These top three of the 12 performing teams won all four of their matches last semester.

Medics’ history as defending champs, after dethroning the once most-feared team Jubilee, is posing a threat to other teams yearning to attain the title. Last year Medhurst walked away with bronze medals in third place while Jubilee lost to Medics and came second.

“We’re like a target everyone wants to get to, so we get pressure because we need to hold on to our title. We are all after victory,” said Mnisi

New kids on the block

True to Mnisi’s assessment, new kids on the block Noswal Hall “want it all”.

“A juggle of the positions would be more interesting, I mean why introduce something new if we want to keep things constant? I believe competition is healthy, keeps everyone on their toes. I would like to think it’s motivating,” said Keneilwe Manda, acting captain of the Noswal team.

Noswal have been playing without a captain since the season began in April. This, however, has not held back the new kids from outperforming Junction by 14-9, Braam Centre by 45-7, Reith by 23-13 and Esselen by 21-8.
“Team work and cooperation is what has kept us together without a captain,” said Manda.

While fitness is a key area for improvement from last semester, Manda also emphasised “making a bigger name for the new kids on the block”.

“We are a team that wants to show that [people should] never underestimate a developing team,” said Manda.

Compared to the other two top teams, Noswal has new players who have not experienced the league before.

Speaking on the performance of the top three teams, WINL coordinator, Ofentse Moropa, said: “If you had asked me before the season started, I would have said that they [Medics] would win without a doubt. However, it is Noswal’s first time in the league and they look like they’ll be the dark horse of the competition and might cause major upsets.”

Indeed, at number three, Medhurst realises that to move up on the score board will take a lot of commitment and effort from the whole team.
Medhurst faced last year’s second-place winners Jubilee last semester in a disappointing match that left Jubilee wondering what had hit them with the score 25-9 in Medhurst’s favour.

“We plan on going up the ranks and the only way to do that is to stay focused and practising and giving each game our best. We are hoping to be number one. We would love to take the trophy home this year,” said Medhurst captain, Apel Kunene.

Wits tops Africa

Wits has been ranked the top university in Africa and 114th in the world. Photo: Wits Communications
Wits has been ranked the top university in Africa and 114th in the world. Photo: Wits Communications

By Percy Matshoba and Roxanne Joseph

Wits University has been ranked the top university in Africa and among the best in the world by the Center for World University Rankings (CWUR). 

The CWUR looked at 1000 universities around the world and ranked Wits at 114 overall. University of Cape Town is ranked 267, Stellenbosch 311, the University of KwaZulu-Natal 459 and the University of Pretoria 609. 

The criteria include the quality of education, alumni employment, quality of faculty, publications and research papers, influence, citations, broad impact and patents. Wits scored highly in alumni employment (29th) and quality of education (79th).

“It makes me feel like I am in a world class institution.”

The CWUR previously compiled a list of the top 100 universities in 2013, and has now extended the ranking to 1000 universities in the world.  The group claims to be the only ranking system that includes in its research the quality of education and skills development of students without relying on surveys and university data submissions.

Third-year law student Lerato Maviya said she was not quite convinced by the CWUR ranking system in terms of the quality of education. “I still find flaws in the way we are taught [at Wits],” she said.

BA Law student, Dimpho Bendile said the rankings made her proud to be a Witsie. “It makes me feel like I am in a world class institution.”

Approach ranking systems with caution

Wits Vice Chancellor Prof Adam Habib discounted the rankings and said they should be looked at with caution.  Different ranking systems used different criteria for universities. 

“We believe that as a university we should not be distracted by such ranking systems,” he said.  

Habib said the university’s focus should be to build a “nationally responsive and globally competitive institution, one that is both demographically diverse and cosmopolitan.” He said that if the university focuses on these qualities it will surely build a strong accreditation which will be acknowledged by more “established and relevant ranking systems”.

Proud to be a Witsie

Wits university alumnus Simiso Ndlovu said, in terms of graduate employment, the university had gone out of its way to find employment for graduates. “I got my current job through my honours lecturer,” she said. 

Ndlovu said the university’s top ranking gave her a sense of honour and prestige among competing graduates. “I can go anywhere in the world and proudly proclaim that I am a Witsie,” she said.

Director of Alumni Relations Peter Maher said the CWUR ranking was a confirmation of previous reports that had ranked Wits highly.  He said Wits has produced high achieving graduates when compared to other universities in Africa. 

“The overall ranking is good news for Wits graduates,” Maher said. Harvard was ranked as the best university by the CWUR, scoring the highest in seven of eight categories.

The top 10 universities on the list were shared between the United States, represented by eight universities, and the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Japanese universities were also heavily represented in the top 20 with the University of Tokyo at 13th and Kyoto University in the 16th spot.  The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology took the 18th spot and other US institutions completed the list.

Here, there, everywhere foreign nationals just can’t win in SA

MAKING A LIVING: Immanuel Adu has been in South Africa for 2 years . He works at a local salon in Braamfontein. Here he works on Helen Mdumela's (left) nails. Photo: Bongiwe Tutu

MAKING A LIVING: Immanuel Adu has been in South Africa for 2 years . He works at a local salon in Braamfontein. Here he works on Helen Mdumela’s (left) nails. Photo: Bongiwe Tutu

CORRECTION: The original article initially said that the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) was the African Centre for Immigration and Society (ACIS)  when it should have read the former. Wits Vuvuzela regrets the error which has been corrected.

Foreign national traders living in Braamfontein face challenges that deplete the quality of their lives.

Vanya Gastrow is a researcher for the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS). She says one of the biggest challenges are the high levels of crime against foreign national traders as well as corporate competition.

“Some traders also experience red tape problems, especially in the spaza market, where local authorities are often misinformed or in disagreement about the laws governing spaza shops,” Said Gastrow.

“We as foreigners face a lot of difficulties as we are not opportune to get jobs,” said Cameroon-national Edwin Chi who works at Big Brother Salon in Braamfontein. He added that most foreign nationals in South Africa survive by starting their own businesses because “vacancies [for jobs] are reserved for South Africans no matter how qualified you are, as a foreigner you won’t get the job”.

Chi explained that a few weeks ago the salon he works at was robbed by police who said they were looking for illegal activity in the shop. Chi said they were told as foreigners they have no rights in South Africa. “They were searching, searching and when they left we realised they had taken all the money.”

SA Police Service (SAPS) Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini said he were unaware of the alleged xenophobic attack since a case had not been opened by the shop owner. Unless a case was opened “we cannot comment on the issue,” Dlamini said.

“They were searching, searching and when they left we realised they had taken all the money.”

Immanuel Adu manages another local salon. He said: “unless you have the right documents, it’s very difficult to get help from the government, you also can’t get loans from banks to start a business”.

Gastrow explained: “Another challenge is lack of access to reliable documentation. Asylum seeker and refugee permits often don’t meet documentation requirements for banks, visa offices, and landlords.”

“These permits also require frequent renewals, resulting in traders needing to reapply for bank accounts or trading permits each time their documentation nears expiry.” Gastrow added that foreign nationals cannot open bank accounts access loans, import and export goods, or get premises for their shops.

During the xenophobic attacks in 2008 and now in recent months South Africans accused foreign nationals of taking their jobs and over populating “their areas”. Chi and other foreign nationals told Wits Vuvuzela that it was better to live amongst themselves in the city than in the townships because it’s safer.

Gastrow said foreign traders bring small business skills into the country. “They pass these skills on to those they work with. Some traders also study towards degrees and diplomas … and then contribute to South Africa’s formal work force.”

ACMS hosted a seminar at Wits University earlier this week about the earnings of informal foreign traders in and around Johannesburg in light of the xenophobia many foreign nationals are faced with.