THE WITS South African Students Congress (SASCO) branch elected its Branch Executive Committee (BEC) for 2017/2018 last Friday, and, for only the second time, both the chairperson and vice chairperson are women.
In an interview with Wits Vuvuzela, newly-elected chairperson of main campus, Nonkululeko Mntambo, said, “I feel there is a very heavy duty on me, not heavy in a bad way. I think it wasn’t about me, but women. It was about bringing their voice in this revolutionary movement.”
Mntambo added that she thought their election was accepted, more than any other election. “I mean the process was very transparent, things were done according to the book. The person who lost would understand that they lost democratically.”
Newly-elected vice chairperson, Noxolo Madonsela, said it was encouraging to be given an opportunity to lead at a time when the SASCO was transforming on campus, given that the political space is one that is predominantly male.
Madonsela responded to women’s safety on campus by telling Wits Vuvuzela that, “With the increase in abductions in the Braamfontein area, it has made attending lectures and making use of the campus facilities a difficult task. It is exhausting to consistently have to calculate your every move on campus”.
She added that she thought the university was not doing enough to address the issue of safety, but she was hoping that the university management would be willing to engage SASCO on how best to keep women safe on campus.
On the unavailability of free sanitary towels in campus bathrooms, Mntambo said “SASCO has always had pad drives, but these were not run effectively, as they were run by men. At some point they would say, ‘Mchana give her one pad’ when they don’t even know or understand that we can actually use up to three [a day]”
SASCO member and third-year political studies student, Guni Shabalala, said, “I am excited that finally we [women] have representation in the structure. I have great faith in the new executive. We have seen these comrades on the ground. We have witnessed their leadership in other structures.”
Wits Vuvuzela, April 22, 2017. SASCO Relaunches fundraising campaign