Wits students voting dololo

By Nokuthula Zwane and Zanta Nkumane

WITS voting stations did not see long lines at the polls as many students skipped out on casting their ballots for the local government elections. Officials estimated that voter turnout was less than 30%.
Throughout election day, the lines at voting stations at Education Campus and the Old Mutual Sports Hall on East campus barely stretched past 20 people at a time. When Wits Vuvuzela went to check at 5pm if the voter turnout had improved, only two people were in the line at Old Mutual. “We were expecting 2 520 people but only 700 have showed up,” an Independent Election Official (IEC) official revealed.  “Students don’t want to vote,” he said with a chuckle.

Wits Vuvuzela journalists took time out from covering elections to cast their own votes. The local government elections went relatively smoothly with voting stations running from 7am to 7pm. Final election results are expected to be released from this evening. PHOTO: ZANTA NKUMANE

#IVOTED: Wits Vuvuzela journalists took time out from covering elections to cast their own votes. The local government elections went relatively smoothly with voting stations running from 7am to 7pm. Final election results are expected to be released from this evening.         PHOTO: Zanta Nkumane

The scenes at the Wits polling stations were as quiet as a cemetery, with security guards and police sitting in a group chatting and snacking. “We’ve been bored all day,” said a police officer.
Across the Library Lawns, the ANC had set up a tent and was still campaigning. A group of about 20 student activists sangs songs in the chilly wind.After a study conducted by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) revealed last week that most students would rather protest than vote, this poor turnout may be a wakeup call for parties to re-think how they engage youth voters going forward.
Mokgadi Maila, a Mining Engineering student, said she was a second time voter but after voting, she was still doubtful if it would make a difference to political parties.
“I don’t think they’ll change anything. I hope they can deliver,” she said.While others went to the polls, some students didn’t bother to register to vote.
“You vote then what happens?” asked 23-year-old Smanele Mbhele, Honours Education. “I had better things to do today than vote.”
Although the turnout at Wits was not as expected, many South Africans made their X mark on the ballot for the Municipal Elections.
Over 133.000 voting booths were opened across the country. In preparation for the elections, the IEC had made arrangements to ensure that the elections remained free and fair.
Among the citizens who voted around the country was President Jacob Zuma who cast his vote in his hometown of Nkandla, in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane cast his vote with his wife, Natalie, at the Allen Glen High School in Roodeport. Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema cast his vote in Seshego, Limpopo.
This election has been highly anticipated with many opposition parties such as the DA and EFF expecting to increase their share of the vote at the expense of the ruling ANC.

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The youth vote!?

The youth would rather protest than vote in an election. This is according to a new study which was released late last month by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS). (more…)

Maimane: “I can taste victory”

The Democratic Alliance(DA) is confident that it stands a very good chance to win all the metros that it has targeted – Johannesburg, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela and Cape Town.

This emerged at the party’s final rally on Saturday, July 30, ahead of the municipal elections on August 3.

“It’s never been so close, I can taste the victory,” the party’s leader, Mmusi Maimane, told the thousands gathered at the Dobsonville Stadium in Soweto. That is after he had welcomed them to his hometown: “I stand before you today, as outie ya hier mo kasi (a guy from this township ). You are in my home. Welcome!”

Maimane thanked all supporters and members of the party for “inspiring” and remaining “courageous” ahead of the Municipal Elections.

He quoted the late Nelson Mandela, saying, “If the ANC does to you what the apartheid government did to you, then you must do to the ANC what you did to the apartheid government.

“We have the power that Madiba gave us,” he said.

Former DA Student Organisation chairperson at Wits, and current Ward 58 candidate for Tshwane, Dikeledi Selowa, said that the youth owed it to themselves “to go out there and make a difference”.

6.A half an hour long speech delivered by DA leader, Mmusi Maimane. Photo Nokuthula Zwane

DA leader Mmusi Maimane welcomed thousands of supporters to his hometown. Photo Nokuthula Zwane

Selowa, said the rally was the party’s last chance to prove to the rest of South Africa that the DA is willing to deliver.”

The DA won’t have the last word, however, as, on Sunday, both the African National Congress and the Economic Freedom Fighters will host their final rallies, in Johannesburg and Polokwane respectively.



Disrupt university rape culture at Wits

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DISRUPTING RAPE CULTURE: The documentary was screened at Wits on Tuesday. Photo: Shannon Correia

Anti-sexual violence activists at Wits presented a student documentary on Tuesday about the Rhodes University #RUReferenceList which exposed rape culture at that university.
The documentary, called Disrupt, has been screened around Wits campuses and residences, where a facilitated discussion around the student protest action in relation to gender and sexual violence took place. The turnout of the screening was described by Gender Equity Office (GEO) investigations and advocacy officer Charlene Beukes as ‘amazing’.
“The screening was to start a conversation about rape culture on Wits campuses” and engaging the university about ways to combat rape culture,” said Beukes.
The screening and talk included Wits organisations such as the GEO, Counselling and Careers Development Unit, Student Development and Leadership Unit, Vow FM and Drama for life, as well as some of residences including Mens Res.
Executive producer of Disrupt Mitchel Parker said “the documentary takes a look at the #RUReferencelist protest that took place at Rhodes University. [It] looks at the actual events of the days, where we added context.”
Parker said that he hopes that “the documentary challenges people like management in universities to look at their rape and sexual assault policies.”
The making of the documentary was in collaboration Chapter 2:12, a campaign that started at Stellenbosch University and now includes Rhodes.
One of the observer who attended the screening and participated in the discussion, Mpumi Mlambo, said that the documentary had both pros and cons. “It made us aware that even though you may be looking at social protests like the #RUReferenceList from a distance,” she said.
But Mlambo said she thought the story was “one-dimensional”.
“I found the video a little problematic because it the story was one dimensional. I would have loved to hear the rapist being mentioned as a possible friend, brother, lecturer or vice-chancellor.”
The documentary features #RUReferenceList student protesters Reabetsoe Ralethe, Mercy Watama and Carla Botha.
The Disrupt documentary can be seen on the Rhodes Activate Online YouTube page.

For sexual assualt assistance,
contact the Wits Gender Equity Office at 011 717 9792 or email Maria Wanyane at

CEO SleepOut protester denied bail

A Wits EFF member detained on Thursday following a protest against the CEO SleepOut, has been denied bail and will appear at the Hillbrow Magistrates Court on Monday, August 1.

Tsepo Goba has been charged with malicious damage to property.

Sargent Mduduzi Zondo, spokesperson for the Hillbrow Police Station said “there is a case opened against the marchers, an investigation is being conducted on the charge of public violence.”

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“ACCOMODATION IS LAND”: Wits EFF students seeking to disrupt the CEO SleepOut in protest against high rentals at South Point student accomodation. Photo: Nasya Smith

A group of Wits EFF students and others from Rosebank College, Boston College and the University of Johannesburg tried to disrupt the CEO SleepOut on the Nelson Mandela Bridge, to express dissatisfaction with the response to their memorandum to the management of South Point student accommodation.

Earlier in the week, the Wits EFF had led a protest to South Point, as part of the campaign, #SouthPointFeesSoRidiculous.

Things turned violent on Thursday night when SAPS and JMPD officers fired rubber bullets and teargas at the protesting students.

On its Twitter page, Wits EFF remains confident that Goba will be released, as soon as a legal team has been engaged to assist.

Zondo denied that two other students had been detained as reported by Eyewitness News.



Students injured at CEO sleep-out protest

A number of students were injured and one was reportedly arrested as police fired rubber bullets and teargas at protesters who attempted to disrupt the annual CEO Sleep-out happening on the Nelson Mandela Bridge this evening.

The #SouthPointSoRidiculous campaign which is protesting the high cost of living at South Point student residences in Braamfontein attempted to reach the Mandela Bridge where CEOs are spending the night to raise awareness about the plight of homeless people.

The protesters gathered in Braamfontein earlier in the afternoon and blocked the flow of afternoon traffic leading to a heightened police presence in the area. Teargas and rubber bullets were eventually used to disperse the protesters led by the Wits (Economic Freedom Fighters) EFF resulting in the injury of a few students including Wits EFF branch coordinator Kokesto Poho.

Catherine Seabe, one of the Wits EFF student leaders, said the protest had planned to disrupt the CEO Sleep-out which included South Point CEO Ndumiso Davidson.

Earlier in the week, the protesters handed a memorandum of demands to Davidson and received a written response from the company earlier this afternoon.