Bayas’jwayela: Project W’s Jamie Mighti listens on as Progressive Youth Alliance’s (PYA) Tebogo Thothela explains why some SRC portfolios were merged and new ones created. Photo: Ray Mahlaka
By Emelia Motsai and Ray Mahlaka
PROJECT W has accused the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) of shutting it down in a “conniving manner” after Monday’s constitutional meeting that allocated portfolios.
PYA’s Shafee Verachia (@ShafMysta)was elected uncontested as the new SRC president and four other PYA members were voted into executive team portfolios.
Project W did not make it onto the executive team despite winning seven of 15 directly elected seats on the SRC.
The PYA won eight seats but has an additional four seats on the SRC which were elected indirectly.
Consulting SRC portfolio
Project W’s Jamie Mighti (@thenextbarack)said they came to the PYA “with open arms but we were shut down in a systemic, ruthless and conniving manner. Bayas’jwayela [they are disrespecting us]”.
Project W ‘s Jabulile Mabuza (@ceejaymabuza) said it was “clear that they don’t want to work with us”. She said they had been sidelined and called it an “insult to democracy”.
“You are saying people can do whatever they want as long as you have one more vote,” Mabuza said.
Comrades discuss politics via Whatsapp
Wits Vuvuzela was given a copy of a Whatsapp group conversation between some Project W members and the PYA deployment committee made up of current and former SRC members. [pullquote align=”right”]“We would desire Mighti Jamie for the position of VP [vice president] and Jabulile Mabuza for deputy secretary-general,”[/pullquote]
In the conversation, Mighti was asked which portfolios Project W members wanted and who they wanted in those positions. Mighti said Project W wanted himself and Mabuza in executive positions.
“We would desire Mighti Jamie for the position of VP [vice president] and Jabulile Mabuza for deputy secretary-general,” he said.
Mighti said Project W wanted those positions because it would give them representation in meetings only available to members of the executive team.
“We would also be able to put our views to these decision-making bodies [senate, council and convocation].”
SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa (@Sibulele_) asked Mighti: “May I ask: does it matter if [Project] W is not in exec? Will it affect their performance in SRC?”
Mighti responded: “I definitely think it will send the message that our say is not valuable to the decision-making process, we would like a voice at the very least in the university structures.”
Mighti warned that excluding Project W would “create an atmosphere of adversity, in that it is the PYA executive versus the Project W candidates, this may lead to more fractious relations over time.”
Divvying up SRC portfolios
Two new SRC portfolios were created and some were merged. Mighti said they were not consulted on this.
“They came to the meeting, merged all the positions that you think are powerful, not because they are trying to be benevolent but because they are trying to monopolise power,” Mighti told Wits Vuvuzela.
[pullquote]“They came to the meeting, merged all the positions that you think are powerful, not because they are trying to be benevolent but because they are trying to monopolise power”[/pullquote] He accused the PYA of merging positions because they ran out of candidates for the portfolios believed to be influential.
PYA deployment committee member Tebogo Thothela denied Project W’s allegations and said the new portfolios were created regularly.
Thothela said they had spoken to Project W members to ask them which portfolios they would want.
Verachia also defended the portfolio assignments: “A lot of thought went into the portfolios,” he said.
Verachia said Project W’s disappointment was because they may have been “ambitious of the portfolios they wanted”.
Working dynamics between Project W and PYA
Mabuza and Mighti were assigned to the two new portfolios, of campus liaison officer and day student liaison officer respectively. Both said they would do their best to serve students in those portfolios.
Verachia said unifying the team would not happen “over night” but he was ready for the job ahead: “It’s a huge responsibility and I am up for the challenge.”
SRC to divvy up the spoils, September 13, 2013
SRC President announced: The winner takes it all, September 17, 2013
WITH GALLERY: SRC election results – PYA gets a wakeup call, August 30, 2013
Project W’s Jabulile Mabuza and Jarred Hart respond to the announcement of the 2013 SRC portfolio. Photo: Ray Mahlaka
By Ray Mahlaka and Emelia Motsai
Progressive Youth Alliance’s (PYA) Shafee Verachia was elected the new SRC president at the constitutional meeting that was held yesterday.
The meeting was held to determine which portfolios the newly elected SRC members will take up.
Outgoing SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa said Verachia’s position was uncontested. The new SRC is made up of eight PYA members and seven Project W members who were voted for by Witsies last month.
Paul Ndeweni got the deputy president portfolio, Michlene Monya is the secretary general, Shoki Masha, deputy secretary general and the treasurer is Sandile Ngwenya.
[pullquote]”It’s clear they do not want to work with us”[/pullquote]
The new SRC will no longer have two deputy presidents but will have a deputy secretary general. Some portfolios like clubs, societies and student governance were merged.
Academics and policy were also merged and so was projects, media and campaigns.
Two new portfolios were created, day student liaison officer and campus liaison officer. Having only PYA members in the executive team and merging of some portfolios left Project W SRC elects very upset.
Project W’s Jabulile Mabuza, who got a newly created portfolio said she was disheartened by what had happened and PYA had merged positions to monopolise power.
“It’s clear they do not want to work with us,” said Mabuza with tears in her eyes.
Outgoing vice president external Joy Phiri said it was normal for the SRC to create new positions to meet the needs of students.
Jamie Mighti of Project W said he was “disgusted and shocked”. He said they were not consulted on the decision to create the new portfolios or who was going to take what portfolio. He described the portfolio’s his organisation received as “fluff positions”.
He added: “They [PYA] don’t want to negotiate. They have created a winner takes all situation.”
PYA member Tebogo Thothela, (SRC 2011/12), said they had been in talks with Mighti about the issue of portfolios and Mighti’s demands were two portfolios in the executive team for Project W. He said they (Project W) said nothing about the other portfolios.
2013/14 SRC portfolios
- President- Shafee Verachia – PYA
- Deputy President Paul Ndiweni – PYA
- Secretary general- Michlene Mongae – PYA
- Deputy Secretary general- Shoki Masha – PYA
- Treasurer- Sandile Ngwenya
- Projects, media and campaigns- Nelson Maunatlala – PYA
- Clubs, societies and student governance – Sarah Mokwebo – PYA
- Academics and policies- Angeliki Vidalis – PYA
- Community and service development- Avigal Cutler – Project W
- Transformation officer- Jarred Hart- Project W
- Legal officer- Gerry Comninos – Project W
- Strategic planning- Ethan Genende – Project W
- International officer- Kay Mlaba – Project W
- Campus liaison officer- Jabulile Mabuza – Project W
- Day student liaison officer- Jamie Mighti- Project W
WINNING: Progressive Youth Alliance member Shafee Verachia got the most votes in the SRC elections this year. Photo: Mia Swart
By Emelia Motsai and Ray Mahlaka
Project W has been having unofficial “preliminary” meetings with the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) ahead of a meeting to talk about creating an “SRC that works”.
Project W’s Jamie Mighti (@thenextbarack) said a constitutional meeting on Monday would decide who gets what portfolio, so they could come up with a “winning team”.
Mighti said the PYA seemed sincere and interested in helping students, so he felt positive and confident about working together.
Of the 15 seats available on the SRC, the PYA got eight and Project W got seven seats.
Another four positions are indirectly elected and are held by the PYA.
During election campaigning there was often tension between the two organisations.
PYA and Project W SRC members have vowed to put their differences aside and put student issues first.
The top election vote-getter and PYA member Shafee Verachia (@ShafMysta) said they would work with Project W.
“We will have to put personal interests aside and work together. I have faith in working with Project W. We will work hard with Project W,” Verachia told Wits Vuvuzela.
He said he would be happy to serve in any portfolio his organisation decided on.
Mighti also said he would be happy with any portfolio but “I would like to work in academics”.
After the constitutional meeting the new SRC members will shadow the current SRC until they take office in November.
WITH GALLERY: SRC election results – PYA gets a wakeup call, August 30
VIDEO: Wits SRC election Results 2013, August 30
TEMPERS flared as activists and mine workers were thrown out of a lecture by African National Congress ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Wits Great Hall last night.
The activists and mine workers from the Marikana support campaign were disappointed that Ramaphosa did not address the Marikana massacre of 34 miners in his lecture. Last year, police shot and killed the mine workers in the North West province in an ongoing labour dispute.
Instead Ramaphosa spoke about the National Development Plan (NDP) which was adopted as a policy by government.
Outraged activists and mine workers
The Marikana support campaign activists expressed their outrage at Ramaphosa for not talking about the government’s refusal to pay for legal representation of the mine workers at the official commission of inquiry.
Alfred Moyo, one of the activists, accused Ramaphosa of lying to people in his lecture.
“There is no there is no community participation in the NDP. He does not address anything about Marikana and miners’ challenges. They [government] have blood on their hands. We have South Africans living in informal settlements, we have no services.This talk is busy is total rubbish. He is here to lie to people,” Moyo told Wits Vuvuzela.
Claire Ceruti, activist with the Democratic Left Front was thrown out of the lecture for telling Ramaphosa that he has blood on his hands. Ceruti had previously protested against Trevor Manuel at the Ruth First Memorial Lecture in the same venue.
Ceruti said Ramaphosa tried to make himself look good by averting questions about Marikana, as she was expecting him to take responsibility.
“It’s disgusting that he sits there as someone who makes profits. These are the people who gave the go ahead for the trigger at the Marikana massacre. He defended the police for their actions, by sending emails to the police commissioner,” Ceruti said.
Marikana commission of inquiry
Ramaphosa, speaking about the commission of inquiry said the story of Marikana still needs to be told and addressed fully.
“Many people feel the pain for Marikana. It’s deeply regretted,” he told the audience which were not convinced.
Ramaphosa was boo’ed throughout his speech by the activists. They also carried posters which read: “Don’t let the politicians get away with murder, Marikana support campaign.”
In response to the posters Ramaphosa said people with papers cannot distract those without papers. We must respect each other’s right to speak.”
Zooming in on the NDP
On the NDP Ramaphosa noted that South Africa’s economy does not serve the interest of people as it creates few jobs, skills levels are poor in the country and that inequality plagues society.
“The NDP serves as a vision to overcome key challenges; inequality which we have inherited, poverty and unemployment which also has roots in our past. The NDP is a plan that can deliver faster economic growth and inclusive growth. Ills are plentiful, there are many problems that beset the nation. The NDP provides pragmatic plan to transform the economy”.
The contentious plan has been rejected by trade unions, which claim the policy will not solve the country’s socio-economic issues.
[pullquote align=”right”]”Ramaphosa just came here to canvass. He just wants votes.”[/pullquote]
Ramaphosa said he welcomed debate around the NDP.
He added: “We are a nation of people who love to talk, we are noisy and robust, that is good. We would love to get full agreement, especially in our country. Those views need to be given a platform to be articulated. “There has been resistance to the NDP, which needs to be debated. Those who are criticising the plan need to engage with the plan. We all want what is best for our people and the country.”
Some members of the audience scoffed at his assertion that socio-economic change has occurred.
Ramaphosa’s assertion that wages have increased since 1994 and that workers have won the right to strike did not bode well with mine workers in attendance.
A Lonmin Platinum miner who shot by police during wage disputes said Ramaphosa’s lecture was a campaign strategy for next year’s national elections. He refused to be named.
“Ramaphosa just came here to canvass. He just wants votes. There is no promises and change for poor people. He just bought a buffalo [which he placed a R20-million bid on and lost], he should have given the money to suffering people,” the mine worker said.
Ramaphosa said the NDP policy is not perfect. He added: “We will continue to engage. Where there are gaps, well work with society to fill the gaps. We need to implement the NDP.”
Article by Emelia Motsai and Ray Mahlaka. Gallery by Mfuneko Toyana
Project W has broken the Progressive Youth Alliance’s (PYA) winning streak by scooping seven of the 15 SRC seats.
The results of the 2013 SRC elections were announced today at the Wits Great Hall piazza.
Newcomers Project W got almost half the seats on the SRC. Last year PYA won 14 of the 15 seats, losing only one seat to an independent candidate.
In 2011 they won all the seats on the SRC. The percentage of students who voted in this year was 24%, a 3.5% increase from last year.
Election results paper with candidates and the number of votes recieved. Page 1
Election results paper with candidates and the number of votes recieved. Page 2
Reactions from organisations
While the PYA narrowly maintains its majority on the SRC, with only eight seats, their shock was evident.
“They got seven seats,” said current SRC external Joy Phiri (@Joy_Phiri) who is a PYA member right after the results were announced.
Project W’s Jamie Mighti (@thenextbarack) said the votes reflected what students wanted.
“The students have voted, we’ve introduced democracy and excitement around politics in the university,” said Mighti.
When his name was announced in eighth position Mighti walked across the Great Hall stairs to where PYA members were standing and mocked them. They booed him in response.
[pullquote]“The students have voted, we’ve introduced democracy and excitement around politics in the university”[/pullquote]
PYA’s Shafee Verachia (@ShafMysta) the incumbent SRC academic officer got most of the votes. He garnered 2967 votes, 3.6 % of the total votes. PYA supporters cheered loudly when this was announced.
“I’m quite happy, PYA will pride its self in serving students,” said Verachia.
None of the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (Daso) candidates made it in to the top 15, the first of their candidates came in at number 31 with 945 votes.
“We gave up half way through,” said Daso’s Dikeledi Selowa (@DK_Selowa) who was visibly upset.
University registar Kirti Menon made the announcement of the results. Menon said the results were fair and free and she congratulated all the candidates, even those who did not make it.
Students react to results
Students who were interviewed by Wits Vuvuzela did not seem to have a problem with the results.
“Project W will sharpen the PYA. We should be celebrating, we have sound leaders. I’m happy with the SRC results said,” Mcebo Sisulu.
Another student said he would have liked to see a 100% PYA SRC but he was ok with the results: “it’s a wake-up call [for PYA], as long as there is representation on both sides.”
Verachia said he was happy that there was more diversity in the SRC: “We will work hard with Project W to serve students.”
Mighti also said a functional SRC was possible even if it was run by Project W and PYA members. “It won’t be broken, it will work,” he said. The New SRC will begin its term on November 1.
The Wits SRC 2013/2014
1. Shafee Verachia – PYA
2. Angeliki Vidalis – PYA
3. Nelson Maunatlala – PYA
4. Jabulile Mabuza – Project W
5. Jarred Hart – Project W
6. Kay Mlaba – Project W
7. Ethan Genende – Project W
8. Jamie Mighti – Project W
9. Michlene Mongae – PYA
10. Gerry Comninos – Project W
11. Paul Ndiweni – PYA
12. Avigal Cutler – Project W
13. Kabelo Ngwenya – PYA
14. Sarah Mokwebo – PYA
15. Shoki Masha – PYA