Wits SRC president threatened to leave during her interview on Checkpoint broadcast on eNCA.
Nompendulo Mkhatshwa, Wits SRC president, found herself under public scrutiny after Tuesday’s episode of Checkpoint on eNCA. Questions pertaining to the EFF on campus and the role of the ANC in the Fees Must Fall movement seemed to irritate Mkhatshwa who, at some stage, threatened to walk out of the interview.
The line of questioning by Checkpoint producer, Busisiwe Gumede, was around “the divide” that has occurred in Fees Must Fall movement since last year. Mkhatshwa first showed signs of displeasure when Gumede asked if she felt threatened by the increasing popularity of the EFF on campus. “I am not going to answer that question, it’s not a governance question,” said Mkhatshwa.
When Gumede asked what role the ruling party had played in Fees Must Fall, Mkhatshwa threatened to leave. Gumede, however, said the interview was not over and insisted that Mkhatshwa answer the question. She asked for a moment to calm down.
Mkhatshwa completed her interview, however, she received a huge backlash on social media as people expressed their disappointment with the way in which she had handled certain questions.
Twitter user, @Camagu_Siko, wrote “the Wits SRC has also been captured by the ANC, she has failed millions of varsity students in SA @Checkpoint_enca.”
Another user, @Chippo_K wrote, “Nompendulo’s responses on #Checkpoint were rather poor for a student leader with 2 PR agents.”
@Iam_BongiN tweeted, “Nompendulo didn’t show any leadership skills, that was a horrendous interview”.
@EmmahMabye tweeted, “If Nompendulo cracked like this on #Checkpoint, then I’d hate to see what would happen if 3rd Degree was around & Deborah P. interviewed her”
The SRC President told Wits Vuvuzela that when she agreed to the interview, the producers had not been forthcoming about their angle. Mkhatshwa said the telephonic briefing that occurred beforehand did not mention anything about discussing the apparent divide in the student movement. Additionally, she said Checkpoint had promised to send through questions beforehand so she could prepare accordingly, but failed to do so. “Despite this, I wanted to honour my word and decided to go through with the interview,” she said.
Mkhatshwa said during the interview, Gumede began asking “leading questions”. “I would have appreciated a conversation that did not come with a particular view but one that sought the truth,” she said. The SRC president said she started feeling uncomfortable with the direction of the interview and asked to go off record. It was at this point where she was seen to be taking a moment to calm down.
The interview ended on a good note, as far as she was concerned, and she says she was surprised that the “off record” parts were broadcast.
“Moving forward, it would be nice if the media could play more of a building role instead of creating further divides,” said Mkhatshwa.
“I really apologise for not being able to keep my cool. I am still learning, but I won’t accept media that seeks to defame our character,” said Mkhatshwa.
- Wits Vuvuzela, Interactive Debate, April 29, 2016.
- Wits Vuvuzela, “It is a huge responsibility and I am humbled”, September 26, 2015.