Bongiwe Tutu and Rofhiwa Madzena
Calls for a boycott of the SRC elections by education students have not been endorsed by the student council.
Grievance officer, Xolani Khoza, said they want to separate themselves as the Education Student Council (ESC) from the boycott. “We feel that the boycott is being influenced by political parties.”
However, Khoza said as students of Education Campus they would not be voting unless the grievances they had tabled to management were considered. “We are not taken seriously, so why should we vote?”
Khoza said they wanted a “sufficient explanation” from management. “Maybe then we will vote,” he said.
The grievances that were tabled to university management last year include inconvenient library hours, as it closes at 9pm. The lack of frequent buses to education campus “when main campus is closed” is another issue that was brought up.
Khoza said they need “student development organisations” such as the Counselling and Careers’ Development Unit, Student Development and Leadership Unit and First Year Experience.
Khoza said he had heard of student suicides apparently due to the pressures of student life. “We need these facilities to prevent such instances,” he said.
Project W, leader Jamie Mighti commented on the planned boycott by students on Education Campus: “You boycott the SRC elections, how does that improve the SRC? If students want change they need to vote for the right party.”
The SRC’s liaison officer Jabulile Mabuza said: “Many of these issues are issues that are always raised in university meetings by the SRC but because of the bureaucratic system, we have to go through a number of departments before implementation, this is not an easy thing to explain to students.”
Mabuza said many of the issues on education campus “are not a matter of money but a matter of changing the university’s policy”. She said: “I believe students have the right to voice out their concerns whichever peaceful way to get their voices heard.”
Responding to a request for more ATMs on Education Campus, deputy vice-chancellor Prof Tawana Kupe said there is a Nedbank machine that was placed there about two years ago on the students’ request. “At that stage Nedbank was the only bank interested,” he said.
The ATM is not used enough to warrant the installation of another one, Kupe said. The cashless campus project should relieve the pressure on ATMs and Kudu Bucks’ machines.
He said there is a budget for the cashless campus project and added that implementation will take place “hopefully by latest April 2015”.