Wits Daso has taken a decision not to participate in the upcoming SRC by-elections, describing the elections as “unconstitutional”
With DASO being occasionally mocked on social media and at circuses leading up to the SRC elections this year many are wondering, what’s the deal with DASO?
It’s the last circus before the SRC elections, a Project W member got up to tell the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) that he thought it was “cute” that they are trying to run.
The comment shows the dismissive attitude that many student politicians have towards the DASO candidates, as the organisation has struggled to gain any traction during this election.
When DASO’s campaign manager, Floyd Nyalungu, was asked about this particular incident he laughed and joked that “other students even call us ‘DASO The Legacy” in reference to the popular TV soapie Generations, now known Generations The Legacy.
But Nyalungu, PG Law, is looking on the bright side, “cute represents something good”, he said.
DASO have only six candidates running for SRC while rival organisations Project W and the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) each have a full slate of 15.
One of the points raised at the circus was the view that DASO is ‘dying’ and Nyalungu attributes this to their lack of visibility. “The reason people say DASO is dying is because they didn’t see it on campus and that is because previous structures could not coordinate activities.”
Nyalungu added that the graduation of some executive members on an annual basis has affected the depth of leadership of the organisation.
“The important part is that we are here now and if we see a problem why not try and address that issue.”
Despite Nyalungu positive outlook, many Wits students seem to feel sorry for the organisation. The DASO tent has been a point they have been mocked and criticised when some people noticed that it appeared to be a DA tent with an additional “SO” handwritten in white paint.
But Nyalungu said that what looked haphazard was a conscious decision so students can see where they come from and who they are.
“Most student didn’t know what DASO is, but there is branding for DASO … and I believe next year we will actually be using our DASO gazebo,” Nyalungu said.
Even with the eventful lead up to these elections—loud debates, fights, scuffles and lawsuits—DASO seems to be missing from the action, a move that Nyalungu said is part of their philosophy.
“I remember even at the Great Hall when people were fighting we were just sitting there, just folding our arms, but ja that’s how we believe leadership should be. When you have a problem you sit down and solve the issue instead of physically confronting each other,” said Nyalungu.
“We are hoping we can share much of the office with Project W and [the Progressive Youth Alliance], but unfortunately EFF is not here,” he said.
When asked how they have been experiencing the reaction to DASO running for SRC again he said it was very “positive”. Nyalungu said there have even been calls made to the Cape Town office asking where DASO Wits is.
A group of independent candidates have pulled out of the SRC election campaign as it felt it hasn’t been firmly established on campus.
With campaigning due to start on Monday, independent candidates under Positive State of Mind (PSOM) withdrew as they felt the organisation needs more time to establish itself.
“Most of our activities on campus were done outside campus. So this is not pulling out completely but a mature decision to give ourselves a year to let everyone know who we are before we actually decide to run,” said PSOM vice chairperson Roland Nzanzu.
PSOM had nine candidates running for the elections. They are no longer on the SRC Election candidate list.
The only organisations left are the Economic Freedom Fighters, Project W and the Progressive Youth Alliance. Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (Daso) members are still “secretly” running under other organisations.
PYA said they are “confident” about the elections.
“We are confident as the Progressive Youth Alliance that through the work we have done as a collective for students in the past up to date, as well as the work that we still wish to do for the students in the future, that our candidates will be able to rally the support of the students of Wits University,” said Wits branch South African Student Congress (Sasco) chairperson, Nompendulo Mkatshwa.
Project W believe they “are ready to take it to the next level and be the governing organisation at Wits University”.
“Project W feels that we are the most relevant platform for creating real change at the University. As a collective of independent non-partisan student organisation we cut out the middle man and the external political agenda of our counterparts. We believe that we are ready to take it to the next level and be the governing organisation at Wits University,” said Project W member, Zuhayr Tayob.
UPDATED Candidate list
- Wits Vuvuzela: Daso on the SRC down low, 8 August 2014
The elections for 2014’s Wits Student Representative Council (SRC), are but hours away. With over 50 people and organisations running for elections, students need to think carefully about whose picture they will put their ‘X’ next to.
The road to the polls
People clad in dark blue, yellow and light blue t-shirts have been knocking on doors and debating furiously the past few weeks as the election dates draw ever nearer. [pullquote align=”right”]”Let them bring couches, we will bring leadership”[/pullquote]
The campaign trail has been upped a notch this year with the arrival newcomer ProjectW. They have collected over 3000 canned food items, handed out study guides earlier in the year and delivered couches to residences. Leaving egg on the faces of those who handed out t-shirts and lollipops.
Project w has delivered. … (W)right now……..couches for knocks pic.twitter.com/XgxOTvrG1l
— Vhahangwele Magodi (@Veeeeeman) August 23, 2013
ProjectW member, Jamie Mighti said that they were simply fulfilling students needs with the couches. “We deliver on the ground and will continue to do so beyond these elections”.
Pearl Pillay, member of opposition group PYA said that what ProjectW had done with the couches was very opportunistic and that they were simply trying to buy students’ votes. “Let them bring couches, we will bring leadership,” she added.
[pullquote] “We deliver on the ground and will continue to do so beyond these elections”[/pullquote]
Mighti responded to these claims by saying that the PYA were then hypocrites because they handed out 5000 t-shirts to students, “what they didn’t consider is the fact that our couches will be around for years to provide comfort to students, while their t-shirts will be used to sleep in”. Mighti added that their opponents were merely trying to undermine them, even though they have failed to fulfil student needs for the past three years.
Whether or not these incentives are the way to student’s hearts will become evident after the polls have closed.
Many a promise has been made by those running for office. The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) has a history behind them to support their claims. Their campaign focused on past victories like the reduction of proposed registration fees last year for students in need.
This year the Democratic Alliance’s (Daso) youth wing was not the PYA’s biggest competitor. ProjectW made a lot of noise during the circuses on campus about what they can and will do if given the opportunity to lead the SRC next year. They have been embroiled in a lot of back and forth banter with the PYA on what the latter have failed to do while in office.
Amongst some of ProjectW’s promises they listed longer library hours, more textbooks and online lectures as vital goals on their agenda.
Daso put forward their 18 point manifesto which promised a bail-out fund for students who may lack funding for school related necessities during their year of study.
[pullquote]”I only got R5oo to campaign, I could barely afford to put up posters”[/pullquote] Totally lost in all the campaigning are the independent candidates. There are eight independents in total, none of whom have managed to make much of an impression in the hearts and minds of the electorate at large.
Pabalelo Selema, an independent candidate said that he was excited ahead of elections and that he felt prepared. “I did one on one sessions with students to campaign”. He added that the bigger organisations were at an advantage because they had bigger budgets with which to campaign. “I only got R5oo to campaign, I could barely afford to put up posters,” he said.
As students head to the polls tomorrow, one can only hope that they vote for the people and persons who will help to make Wits better and not be blinded by the momentary blue colouring in their mouths from the blue gobstoppers they were given.
Wits Vuvuzela has received two official statements in response to the current investigation into allegations of rape and sexual assault against senior lecturer in Drama Tsepo wa Mamatu.
Read the statement from the ANCYL Wits Branch here.
Read the statement from the statement from the Wits branch of the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation here.
Send us your comments and responses to these statements via email: email@example.com or tweeting us: @Wits Vuvuzela. Alternatively you can comment on our Facebook page: WitsVuvuzela.
A speech by Democratic Alliance (DA) spokesperson Mmusi Maimane during O-week was cancelled, allegedly because the party’s Wits youth wing failed to follow university procedure.
The alleged violation of protocol by the DA Student Organisation (DASO) resulted in Maimane being denied a speaking slot shortly before he was scheduled to address students.
Tokelo Nhlapo, SRC vice-president, told Wits Vuvuzela Maimane did not get permission to address students.
Prem Coopoo, dean of students, said she approves all society events of a political nature and does not allow any political speakers on campus during O-week. She added that the new executive committee may not have been aware of the procedure.
Maimane claimed censorship
Maimane said he was not allowed to speak at the clubs and societies’ marquee on the Great Hall piazza, although DASO had confirmed a 15-minute time slot the day before. The SRC drew up a timetable to give different societies the opportunity to promote themselves throughout the week.
In a press statement, Maimane described the incident as “anti-democratic bullying” by the “ANCYL-run Wits SRC”. Fourteen of the 15 elected SRC members belong to the Progressive Youth Alliance, a coalition between several student organisations including the Wits ANC Youth League.
“This is yet another example of how the ANC is attempting to close down the democratic space at our universities. There is a growing intolerance in the ANC of differing views,” he said.[pullquote]”He cannot expect to be given red carpet treatment here because he’s opposition”.[/pullquote]
Tshediso Mangope, Wits ANCYL chairperson, accused Maimane of “cheap politicking”.
“This ‘Robin Hood style’ of manoeuvring is not going to assist us … he cannot expect to be given red carpet treatment here because he’s opposition,” Mangope said.
In e-mail correspondence, DASO Wits requested a speaking slot with Apelele Pindani, SRC Clubs and Societies officer, over a week before the start of o-week.
But after Maimane’s arrival, Luyolo Mphithi, DASO Wits leader, said he was informed by the SRC that the society had not received the necessary clearance to have a political figure address students.
“They were telling us that we didn’t get permission to get him inside Wits and that he was not allowed to be inside.”
Published in Wits Vuvuzela (2nd edition), 15th February 2013
The Wits DA Student Organisation (DASO) took part in the DA Youth sit-in at Constitution Hill yesterday to demonstrate their concern over what they saw as recent threats to the Constitution by the ANC.
They said recent comments by the ruling party implied there was a need to change the Constitution. At the sit-in, the DA Youth revealed the latest poster in their “In our future” campaign, which shows the Constitution going up in flames.
The caption on the poster reads, “In our future, the Constitution will reign supreme.”
Mohammed Sayanvala, leader of DASO Wits said in a statement “the protest was held to show our concern about the ANC’s recent comments implying a need to change the Constitution of South Africa”.
“As a student body we realise the importance of preserving our Constitution so that our hard-won democracy and freedoms may be preserved for the future generations of South Africa.”
DA Youth leader Makashule Gana said in a statement: “The separation of powers is central to the preservation of democracy in South Africa. The judiciary must ensure that executive decisions comply with the Constitution, which no entity, not even the ANC, the President or Parliament, is above.”
ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu has responded to the campaign by saying the ruling party does respect the Constitution.
“This is a Constitution that came with the ANC. We are not saying any willy-nilly person with a hangover can change it. All constitutions have amendments, and it all comes through a majority. Every time the ANC even mentions the Constitution it is a problem. It is not the DA Youth who brought this Constitution, they can go jump in the nearest lake.”
A previous DA Youth poster caused uproar on social networking sites in January. The poster showed a nude mixed race couple locked in an embrace. The caption read: “In our future you wouldn’t look twice.”