Returning students: Don’t YOLO too much

Students cancel your pool parties and unbook your hotel reservations, registration fees in 2014 will dig deep into your pockets.

Students returning to Wits next year will have to make an upfront payment of R 9 340 before they register in January.  Should students fail to make this payment they will be denied access to the university. On the last day of March the total tuition fee must be paid. For res students the situation becomes more expensive. These students will be expected to pay 20% of their total residence fees and a further 40% of their total residence fees by the end of March. The remaining 60% must be paid by the end of July.

[pullquote]Wits next year will have to make an upfront payment of R 9 340 before they register in January[/pullquote]SRC President, Shafee Verachia said the registration fees were exorbitant and that the SRC was not happy with the current amount.  “The amount is ridiculously high and we are not happy at all. We encourage students who cannot afford this fee to apply for the upfront payment plan,” he said. A payment plan introduced by the 2011/2012 SRC is one of the ways the SRC has tried to lessen the burden on students who are unable to afford the fees.

According to the university, “students who are academically deserving but financially needy” will be given an opportunity to apply for a payment plan that will allow students to pay only 50% of the compulsory registration fee. Verachia said the plan reduced the pressure on working class families and made it easier for students to return to school in the financially stressful month of January.

According to Verachia international students will be expected to pay an upfront payment of 70% of their total tution fees. The remaining 30% can be paid in installments. Students are advised to collect an application form for the payment plan from the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office before the end of November. The payment plan is not connected to the NSAFS and students who do not qualify for NSAFS will still be considered.

Hashtags and retweets

A BLUEBIRD is the latest investigative tool, according to Ray Joseph, social media expert and journalist.
In presentation, Joseph gave tips on how to build a professional profile:

  • Journalists should have a clear and descriptive twitter biography. They should also have a proper profile picture. “If you want to be a trusted source you can’t have an egg.”
  • If journalists use twitter for professional reasons, they should link it to a larger website. “Put your link to LinkedIn or a professional website.”
  • Hashtags are important. Journalists should play around with and use them to find out about breaking stories and news stories. Hashtags are like metal filing cabinets that help organise documents. “At the heart of twitter lies hashtags. They help you sort through the noise.”

Joseph emphasised the importance of twitter as a search tool for journalists.
“Journalists aren’t always the first people on the scene so social networks help you receive the news first,” he said.

Wits Vuvuzela wins top prize

THE WINNING TEAM:  Wits Vuvuzela will be awarded the Vice Chancelor's Transformation Team Award in the student category for their work in exposing sexula harassment on campus. Photo: Dinesh Balliah

THE WINNING TEAM: Wits Vuvuzela has been awarded the vice-chancellor’s award for transformation for their work in exposing sexual harassment at Wits University. Photo: Dinesh Balliah

Ululation and singing is how this year’s Wits Journalism Honours class greeted the news of a vice-chancellor’s award earlier today. The Wits Journalism class of 2013 and their mentors have been awarded the 2013 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Transformation (Team) Award in the student category.

The team of 17 students (referred to as #teamvuvu) have been awarded a R 20 000 prize as part of the award which will be used to advance the transformation agenda through its various publications.

“I think it’s a great achievement. This award shows the kind of impact that journalism can have on society;” said Sibusisiwe Nyanda, a member of this year’s class.

The student journalists were instrumental in exposing sexual misconduct by university lecturers by telling the stories of victims who felt that there were no other mechanisms to deal with their harassment. The coverage of Wits Vuvuzela resulted in a four month campus-wide inquiry into sexual harassment and the dismissal of three senior academics.  Dr Last Moyo, Professor Rupert Taylor and Tsepo wa Mamatu were dismissed following an independent university investigation.

In his motivation for the award, Professor Anton Harber, head of Wits Journalism wrote “Vuvuzela has become central to the framing of a campus community, providing links across a disparate and dispersed campus, offering more and constant communication in a way Wits has seldom seen before. This has given a sense that we are all involved and part of the debate and discussion of the (sexual harassment) issue.” He added: “Few things have had as much impact on
the story than the daily updates of the Vuvuzela website and the weekly distribution of the paper across campus.”

SEXUAL HARASSMENT EXPOSED: The front page of  the first article of many articles that exposed sexual harassment. Photo: Jay Caboz

SEXUAL HARASSMENT EXPOSED: The front page of the first article of many articles that exposed sexual harassment. Photo: Wits Vuvuzela

The team will receive their award on Friday at a gala dinner hosted by VC Professor Adam Habib. “This is an amazing honour. 2013 has been really good for Wits Vuvuzela,” said Liesl Frankson an Journalism Honours student.

This is just one of two awards that the Wits Journalism department, home to the Wits Vuvuzela, will receive this Friday evening. The Wits Justice Project, also part of Wits Journalism, will receive the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Academic Citizenship (Team). The Justice Project aims to investigate the plight of incarcerated prisoners. The team will be awarded R 40 000 for their efforts to promote prisoners rights and uphold justice.

“It [the award] speaks to the enabling environment that allows such good work to flourish,” said Nooshin Erfani-Ghadimi, project coordinator for The Wits Justice Project.

Witsies run Jozi

Downtown Johannesburg was  abuzz this past Saturday, but not for the usually reasons.  Close to 10 000 people made their way to Mary Fitzgerald Square to participate in the Nike’ s WE RUN JOZI 10 km night run.

Runners making their way over the Mandela Bridge to the start  Photo:  Nokuthula Manyathi

Runners making their way over the Mandela Bridge to the start Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

Runners waiting at the start Photo:  Nokuthula Manyathi

Runners congregate at the start Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

The eager runners assembled at corner of Miriam Makeba and Bree streets in their red and grey Nike T-shirts. Runners were split into two team, Move Downtown team in grey T-shirts and the Move Uptown in red T-shirts. The runners started together but split at the M1 Highway onto different 10 km routes. The two routes merged again near the end of the race close to Mary Fitzgerald Square.

On Your Marks: And they are off  Photo:  Nokuthula Manyathi

On Your Marks: And they are off Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

Just before 8pm a gunshot accompanied with glitter sent the runners off into a crisp Johannesburg evening.

Vuvuzela jozi run-10

RUN Forest RUN: More than 10000 runners make through downtown Jozi Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

Entrants ran under the night skies through downtown Jozi, passing popular sites such as City Hall Constitutional Hill and Market Street.

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The end: A nike sighn that welcomed the runners Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

30 minutes and 38 seconds after the start of the race,  Gladwin Mzazi was the first runner to make it past the finish line. He was followed by the first female runner who finished in 36 minutes and five seconds.

The Medals: some of the prizes the winners took home Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

The Medals: some of the prizes the winners took home Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

Both winners ran away with an all-expenses paid trip to Brazil to compete in We Run Rio 2013. Witsies also came in their numbers to RUN JOZI.

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WITSIES ON THE MOVE: From left: Natasha Salant, Tiisetso Murray, Michael Kamps and Jackline Atsango Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

Vuvuzela jozi run-23

GOLD MEMBER: Wisties Nomumiso Gwala and Meldah Pilusa celebrate after their run. Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

LAUGHING HELPS: Mandy Mundell and Mark Dunnik share a joke after their race. Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

LAUGHING HELPS: Mandy Mundell and Mark Dunnik share a joke after their race. Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

Vuvuzela jozi run-20

SISTER ACT: Bongiwe Ndiweni stand next to sisters Itshekeng and Kgatiso Kungoane after they finished the race in a little over an hour. Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

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WE ARE DIONE: Thoriso Moseneke and Jacqlyne Jae Titus celebrate on the Mandela Bridge after finishing the race. Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

After the race runners  and spectators were treated to music by Gold Fish and Chiano Sky.

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PARTY TIME: Sphelele Dunga and Vizi Ntshanyana enjoy the music and the a drink as they wait their friends at the finish line. Photo: Nokuthula Manyathi

Survivor: ANN7 edition

BROADCAST CONFESSIONS: Lebogang Molefe chose her studies over a job at ANN7.                Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

BROADCAST CONFESSIONS: Lebogang Molefe chose her studies over a job at ANN7. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

A Witsie is the latest member of the African News Network 7 (ANN7) to leave Gupta Island, less than a month after the 24-hour channel was launched.

Lebogang Molefe, 2nd year International Relations and Politics, submitted her resignation on Monday following a contractual conflict.  Molefe was hired in July as a weather anchor for the weekend news programme, Morning Time, after a two-day audition process supervised by television personality Gerry Elsdon.


Molefe was chosen out of 30 female hopefuls. She said she resigned after she was asked to work a five-day week instead of the three days she had agreed to.  “There is no bad blood between me and ANN7. I just can’t work during the week because of school,” explained Molefe.

Molefe said following the technical glitches and the media scrutiny that the channel received, a number of the employees hired as anchors decided to leave.  Their departure resulted in other anchors, like her, having to work “double shifts”. Molefe said she was asked to audition while doing promotional work.  She said that while most of the female anchors had modelling or promotional backgrounds she was not just a “pretty face”.

[pullquote]There is no bad blood between me and ANN7[/pullquote]

Molefe said the anchors had little input in news stories and some of the anchors did not know who the news editors were. “You’d arrive, get your hair and make-up done, practise your script, go on air and then you go home. That’s just how it was there. The news anchor has no say on the stories that were being written.”

Rigid structure 

Molefe, who is a former VoW FM news reader, said regardless of the rigid structure she would submit suggestions for news stories. Molefe said anchors do rehearse their scripts but the technical team made it difficult to execute bulletins effectively.

“Most of the technical team is from India, which makes it difficult to understand their instructions because of their dialect.” Molefe said businessman Atul Gupta was “very hands on” and she saw him every day. She said parts of the station were still under construction but that this did not disrupt broadcasting.  “I have a lot of hope in ANN7, mistakes happen when something is new,” Molefe said.

Big payout for pushing passion in SRC

Christmas will come early for Wits SRC members when the university pays members for rendering their services to students.

A stipend committee made up of SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa, SRC treasurer Justice Nkomo, a student development and leadership unit representative and the dean of students will determine how much the SRC members deserve. Mgudlwa said the rating criteria changed from year to year.

[pullquote]Some members “received as much as R8 000” while other unlucky members received “zilch”[/pullquote]The amount varied depending on how effective an SRC member was in implementing their programmes during the year.
“Nonetheless standard criteria would include how many portfolio objectives each member achieved, attendance of SRC events and meetings; conduct and discipline,” Mgudlwa said.

Each year all SRC members had a meeting in which they drafted criteria. It was then the duty of the stipend committee to determine the remuneration of each member. It would be difficult to estimate the average amount that a member could receive, he said. However, a former SRC member, who asked to remain anonymous, said last year some members “received as much as R8 000” while other unlucky members received “zilch”.

Mgudlwa stressed that members of the SRC should not worry as this year’s SRC had not yet sat down to discuss the 2013 stipends. He said the current SRC would hold a meeting in the coming weeks to decide the amounts and rules surrounding the 2013 stipends. “All could change. For example the current SRC could decide that no one receives more than R5 000 or a change in criteria.”

The university funds these stipends, which are included in the university’s budget each year. Last year the university set aside a little more than R60 000 for the SRC stipends.

INFOGRAPHIC: Get that summer body

By Nokuthula Manyathi and Pheladi Sethusa 

As summer creeps on in, health and fitness are key to looking and feeling good all season. Wits Vuvuzela put together a few health and fitness tips that can help out with getting back into shape.

Summer Body (1)

No money, more problems

Students are warned! If your fees are not paid by September 15, you will not be allowed to continue your Wits education.

Witsies with outstanding fees will be barred from the university until they settle their accounts. The fees department has sent emails, smses and letters informing students about the repercussions of unpaid fees.

Students who don’t meet the mid-month deadline will be denied access to the university, examination results will be withheld and legal action will be taken against students. The students will also be refused permission to re-register at Wits and will be refused “a certificate of good conduct without which you will be denied admission to any South African university.”

[pullquote]Witsies with outstanding fees will be barred from the university until they settle their accounts[/pullquote] Nthabiseng Molefe, 2nd year LLB student, said she received the warning letter on Monday. Her fees are paid in part by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme of South Africa (NSFAS) and her parents. She said she had signed her loan agreement with NSFAS more than a month ago, but the money did not reflected on her account.

“I went to the fees office and told them it is NSFAS’s fault but they said they can’t help me, I must make a plan,” she said.

Deputy vice chancellor, Prof Tawana Kupe, said blocking student cards was a “traditional technique” used by the university. He said blocked students were not expelled but were warned that they needed to attend to their fees. Wits SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa said dozens of students had contacted him about these letters.  He called the letters “intimidation” by the university against self-funding students behind on their fees.

Mgudlwa said the SRC would fight back and were prepared to “take to the streets like in 2009”, referring to large student protests against fees that year.

No answers on Coopoo

By Nokuthula Manyathi and Pheladi Sethusa

As Dean of Students Prem Coopoo spends her sixth week on special leave, the rumour mill churns out speculation and the university remains silent about the reason.

Week to week Wits Vuvuzela has been given the run around when trying to find out more about the situation.

Initially staff and students had been informed Coopoo’s absence would only last for a week.

Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel told Wits Vuvuzela last month that Coopoo was placed on special leave pending investigations but would not specify the nature of the investigation.

This week director of special projects, Oliver Seale, said Lamese Abrahams had been appointed the acting dean of students.

He went on to say: “University management is currently in negotiations with Ms P Coopoo on this matter.

We will notify the entire university community on this matter as soon as the negotiations are concluded.”

Some of the rumours Wits Vuvuzela has heard include that the university has plans to change the position of the dean of students, taking away the title of dean. Seale responded to this by saying that was not the case: “Please note that the negotiations with the current incumbent and (sic) not on the job title.”

Wits Vuvuzela contacted six members in executive management, including Vice Chancellor Adam Habib, but could not obtain further comment.


BREAKING: Third “sex pest” sacked

Prof Rupert Taylor of the Political Studies department. Pic: Facebook.

Prof Rupert Taylor of the Political Studies department. Photo: Facebook.

By Nokuthula Manyathi and Pheladi Sethusa

Prof Rupert Taylor has become the third Wits lecturer to be fired following a university investigation into allegations of sexual harassment.

Political studies department head Prof Daryl Glaser confirmed to Wits Vuvuzela that Taylor, formerly a senior lecturer, has been dismissed after a four-month inquiry.

“I am relieved that the process has come to a conclusion,” said Glaser.

Glaser said he had just been told of Taylor’s dismissal on Thursday afternoon. He said would comment further when he had more information.

Taylor was forced to step down as head of the political studies department last year following a report in Wits Vuvuzela of sexual harassment allegations made against him by students.

In March of this year, Taylor was put on special leave and made to leave university premises.

[pullquote]“I am relieved that the process has come to a conclusion”[/pullquote] Taylor had denied the allegations at the time, telling Wits Vuvuzela: “I am deeply upset and concerned about the damaging allegations that have been published against me.”

Taylor is the third lecturer to be dismissed after allegations of sexual harassment were lodged against him. Former head of the media studies department Dr Last Moyo and former senior drama lecturer Tsepo wa Mamatu were fired in July following investigations.

In a statement regarding the most recent dismissal, Vice Chancellor Prof Adam Habib said the university had adopted a “zero tolerance” policy towards sexual harassment.

“We hope that the swift action taken by the university in these three cases, sets a clear example that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in any form on our campuses,” Habib said. Wits Vuvuzela has so far been unable to contact Taylor for comment on his dismissal.