The PYA has some very strong words for the Student Governance Office after SRC members were moved to the Once in Joburg hostel in Braamfontein.

The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) has declared the Student Governance Office (SGO) an “enemy of the student revolution on campus” following what it claims was the forced removal of members of the Student Representative Council (SRC) from university accommodation on Sunday, January 20.

In a statement released on Twitter, the PYA, which won 12 of the 13 seats in the SRC election last year, condemned what it called just “one of the many ills” committed by the Student Governance Office against the SRC after members of the student body were moved from Medhurst Hall of Residence and Highfield Cluster in Parktown to the Once in Joburg hostel in Braamfontein rather than a different university residence.

SRC treasurer general Keneuwe Fetai told Wits Vuvuzela that they were informed that they would be removed from these university residences on Saturday, January 19, but were under the impression that the SGO would find them accommodation on campus for Orientation Week.

“Because some residence students would be returning this week, we were told that we’d be moved. But Student Governance claims no one on campus wanted to accommodate us. So we were moved to the Once in Joburg hotel in Braamfontein. They told us we were there by circumstance.

“We want to move out as soon as possible. It is putting us in a bad light. We are supposed to help students with their accommodation plight but we are here in a hotel. How does that look?”

Manager of the SGO, Jabu Mashinini, denied claims that SRC members were forcibly removed from university residences.

“The SRC was not kicked out of the vacation accommodation/residence, but had to vacate to allow the residence personnel to
prepare for the first years and returning students.”

Fetai, a fourth-year BEd student, told Wits Vuvuzela that around 30 members of the SRC members and sub-committees were housed at the Braamfontein hostel but fear that they will be removed soon and will have nowhere to stay. She says that they are disappointed at the lack of assistance from the university.

“If the university supported us they would fight for us. It doesn’t make sense, we are the SRC and we are staying at a hotel.”

Chairperson of the South African Student Congress branch at Wits, Mpendulo Mfeka, said that the removal of the SRC was “counterproductive” as the body needed to be in close proximity to students on campus. He said that the PYA’s statement reflected the souring relationship between the SRC and the SGO.  

“It is very reckless from Student Governance. They are not doing as much as they are supposed to do for the student body. Student Governance is supposed to assist the SRC so they can continue with their operations. But, according to Governance, no one wants anything to do with the SRC.”

Mashinini has replied to the statement released by the PYA, saying “The PYA is entitled to its opinion, Student Governance has an amiable and professional relationship with the SRC and does not make decisions unilaterally without consulting the SRC.”

Orientation Week is scheduled to begin in a few days, on Monday, January 28.

FEATURED IMAGE: The Once in Joburg hostel in Braamfontein is currently home to SRC members who were “forcibly” moved from university residences at the weekend. Photo: Tshego Mokgabudi

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