Wits to ‘cooperate fully’ with rape investigation

Wits to ‘cooperate fully’ with rape investigation

Wits vice chancellor (VC) Prof Adam Habib has said the university will cooperate with the police investigation into an alleged rape of a student by a fellow student.

A 22-year-old female Witsie has accused a male student of date rape, after she found herself in his bed, unable to remember what had happened to her.

She woke up on Monday morning, after having drinks with him the night before and, according to reports, found condoms on the floor of his room.

The 30-year-old student suspect did not deny having sex with the woman when she asked him what had happened. According to police, the two were out at a local bar together when the complainant started to feel dizzy.

“The criminal investigation will take its own course, with the University cooperating fully,” Habib said, in a statement released by the Wits Sexual Harassment Office (SHO).

Jackie Dugard of the SHO told Wits Vuvuzela she has not yet met with the complainant, but has spoken to her over the phone.

“We have offered the complainant counselling and will see how further to proceed after a more in-depth conversation,” she said.

The accused student appeared in court on Thursday and his case has been postponed. According to Dugard, “… the university regards him as innocent until proven guilty.”

The university said that the incident, which happened off campus, was reported directly to the police by the complainant.

This case is the third of its kind at Wits this year. Earlier in the year a Wits student was raped off campus by two men who were not affiliated with the university and at the beginning of last month, a student was allegedly raped in her university residence.


Related articles

Wits Vuvuzela‘I don’t remember being raped’, September 19, 2014

Wits Vuvuzela: Wits student allegedly raped in university residence, August 12, 2014

Wits Vuvuzela: Wits student raped off campus, April 11, 2014




Wits solar car takes on long distance challenge

Wits solar car takes on long distance challenge

LIGHTYEAR: The Wits solar car will race from Pretoria to Cape Town starting Saturday September 27, the winning car must travel the longest distance in eight days. Photo: Provided

LIGHTYEAR: The Wits solar car will race from Pretoria to Cape Town starting this Saturday. The winning car must travel the longest distance in eight days. Photo: Provided

Witsies will race a solar-powered car from Pretoria to Cape Town in an eight-day challenge starting later this week. The Wits solar car is hoping to go the distance in this year’s Sasol Solar Challenge, a race based on the distance covered and not speed.

Solar cars are raced all over the world, but the South African race is unique in that it is based on distance covered said team manager Kamil Midor.  Midor is a visiting lecturer in the Wits School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering.

The cars will travel a distance of 2000km on the main route with campsites every 230km.  Cars can expand the distance travelled up to 6000km by doing loops that vary between 58km and 132km.  “The final winner is the car that travelled the longest distance during the period of eight days,” said Midor.  Each day the cars must reach the designated finish line by 5.30pm.

Racing history

Wits participated in the race for the first time in 2012 and came fourth.  Learning from the previous race, they built the new car with improvements.  “It’s much lighter, much more energy efficient than before,” said Midor.

“It’s like a bicycle, just with more energy”

This is one of the cheapest cars in the competition, and it cost R130 000 to make it, said Midor.  The car can convert 22% of the sun’s energy into electricity.  This is an improvement from the previous race where it could only convert about 16%.

The car uses less energy than a hairdryer and can reach a top speed of 120km/h. “It’s like a bicycle, just with more energy,” he said. 

Solar team
Besides other South African universities, Wits will also compete against international teams from India, Turkey, Iran and current world champions, Holland.


No contest for SRC leader: PYA

The choice of Mcebo Dlamini for Student Representative Council (SRC) president was not contested within the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) , one of the organisation’s leaders said.

“There’s no one who contested presidency, Mcebo was elected unopposed,” Wits Young Communist League secretary David Manabile told Wits Vuvuzela. The Young Communist League is part of the PYA.

Last week, Wits Vuvuzela reported that there was disagreement within the PYA over who should be SRC president. According to one of the PYA leaders interviewed in the article, there was a struggle to decide between Dlamini, Amogelang  Manganyi and Senzekahle Mbokazi for president. There was disagreement over their different levels of experience and ability to carry out their duties.

But Manabile rejected this claim and said only Dlamini was mentioned as a potential president at the PYA’s deployment committee meeting and the following branch general meeting (BGM).

“We adopted recommendations of the deployment committee as they were. The only name raised for presidency was Mcebo Dlamini,” said Manabile.

“Those faceless people you interviewed might have had a different view but rest assured in the meeting we had, no one raised any other name for presidency.”

Sharing the same view, incoming president Dlamini said PYA members who believed there was a contest for SRC president were “lying”.

“There wasn’t any contestation for presidency, the sources were lying. I do not know if they were in the same BGM that we were in,” Dlamini said.

Although presidency was uncontested, Manabile said that PYA members in the BGM, which is the organisation’s highest decision making body, had differences over who would be Dlamini’s deputy.

“We did have different views as to who must deputize him but at the end we reached consensus, we left the meeting united, believing in the leadership that the BGM has agreed upon,” said Manabile.

A deployment committee list seen by Wits Vuvuzela listed Dlamini as president and Manganyi as vice president. The house reshuffled Manganyi to deputy secretary general and Shaeera Kalla from secretary general to vice president. Mbokazi who was initially given CSO and Student governance, was moved to secretary general.

Dlamini said although the vice president and secretary general portfolios were contested, that should not be seen as though “we are fighting”.

“It’s not like we are fighting when we contest. Contestation is fine and is allowed. It’s wrong for people who were in the BGM to witness this contestation and say that there is bad blood,” said Dlamini.

Activist and inspiration: Yusuf Talia dies due to illness

GREATNESS: Witsie Yusuf Talia has left a proud legacy through his short life.

GREATNESS: Witsie Yusuf Talia has left a proud legacy in his 25 years of life. Photo: Facebook

An activist. A leader. An inspiration. Those are some of the words used to describe Witsie Yusuf Talia who passed away today at the age of 25.

The wheelchair-bound Talia, who battled with muscular dystrophy, was a familiar face around campus where he actively involved in politics and societies. He was part of the Disabled Students Movement and the president of the Muslim Students Association (MSA).  He was also an energetic activist for Palestine.

Talia was elected to the Student Representative Council (SRC) under the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) banner and served as deputy president on the council in 2010.

“Today is a sad day for everybody who knew the gentle soul that was Yusuf but also for Wits in general,” said outgoing SRC president Shafee Verachia.

Verachia said Talia had dedicated his life to service and was a role model for others.

“He was the perfect example of what it means to serve humanity,” Verachia said.

The 2013 SRC president, Sibulele Mgudlwa, said Talia was someone who always had time to help his fellow students.

“One thing which sticks out about Yusuf is the ability he had to avail himself whenever he could to assist students and give of his time, despite his physical condition and pressing academic commitments,” Mgudlwa said.

“He was sociable and approachable while at the same time dignified and respectable,” said Mgudlwa, “We will miss him.”

Talia was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at an early age though very few people knew about his life-threatening disease because of his work ethic.

Talia was named as one of the top 200 young South Africans by the Mail & Guardian in 2013 for his contribution the higher education system and his work to improve conditions for disabled students.

“He was sociable and approachable while at the same time dignified and respectable,”

In an interview with Wits Vuvuzela at the time, Talia said of the recognition, with his trademark humility, “I feel so honoured. It was so unexpected.

He told Wits Vuvuzela that the youth should work towards improving society: “The youth need to adopt an attitude of helping those in need in their societies. We can do anything we put our minds to.”

Talia was studying towards an honours degree in Physiology and hoped to be a doctor one day. He had already earned a BSc and a degree in Actuarial Science.

On behalf of the outgoing SRC, Verachia wished “the Almighty to grant strength to his parents, brother Waseem and to all those touched by this amazing human being”.


INFOGRAPHIC: A decade of good news

This year marks 10 years since Wits Vuvuzela was first published. The award-winning community newspaper first launched its website in 2005 and since then, has gone on to publish its content on other forms of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and  YouTube.

by Roxanne Joseph and Lameez Omarjee


10 years of Wits Vuvuzela