When Louis and his brother first came to Johannesburg they had arrived by train from Kimberly with nothing but a backpack each. They were welcomed to the City of Lights, the City of Promise by being mugged The few personal items they had were taken, including their ID documents
Instead of the City of Gold offering riches and opportunity, two years later they still pursue bags of gold in the form of a few rands.
Louis Vermaak (37) spends 12 hours a day outside the PicknPay on Jorissen street in order to survive.
[pullquote]”I think this is because we help when we witness some crime”[/pullquote]
For the first seven months after Louis and his brother arrived they lived on the pavement behind the Protea Parktonian hotel, a place that hosts many new arrivals to the city with four-star hospitality. Now they beg so they can afford to stay at the Braamfontein Shelter.
Louis is still saving up to pay for a new ID. Over the past week, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor received criticism for the new ID smart card prices. The Democratic Alliance (DA) released a statement saying that R140 for the new identity cards was too much for the poor.
DA spokesperson Manny de Freitas said for many South Africans R140 was the difference between survival and hunger.
Braamfontein is a largely student populated area but Louis said he liked that.
“I chose this area because we are not chased away by the security here. I think this is because we help when we witness some crime. The students are also friendlier than older people. Some students generally donate some food for me too.”
[pullquote align=”right”]”I told myself I would rather beg than steal”[/pullquote][/pullquote]
When Louis stayed behind the Parktonian, he met a fellow street dweller who introduced him to informal recycling. Louis worked as a recycler for six months but then his trolley was stolen but he did not have money to replace it..
“This is how I ended up begging. I told myself I would rather beg than steal.”
Louis hopes to get an artisanal job once he has made enough money to pay for his ID. “That ID will be a ticket for me to have a decent job so that I can even afford to have my own family one day.”
There may be hope for Louis to get his ID though. The spokesman for the Department of Home Affairs Ronnie Mamoepa said Pandor was in “discussion with National Treasury regarding fees for certain categories of persons that may be exempted”.
This is the first year that Wits hosted the People to People International Documentary and Tri-continental film festival on its premises.
The People to People International Documentary Conference was held at the Wits theatre from last Sunday and ended this Wednesday.
Jeppe on a Friday Director Arya Lalloo talks to Wits Vuvuzela about the film festival
People to People
In 2007, People to People was inaugurated by the Encounters and Tri-continental film festivals, the two leading documentary festivals in the country as they believed the number of films about Africa or the developing world being made by filmmakers from these communities, were not enough.
Conference organiser and Director of the highly acclaimed independent film Jeppe on a Friday, Arya Lalloo said the conference was about filmmakers coming together to share the tensions involved in documentary production.
“Issues around representation, access and ethics are some of the topics that are discussed at People to People. We are dealing with very resource deprived filmmaking communities, it is about building collegial bonds between the continent’s documentary filmmakers,” Lalloo said.
The conference was created as a space to develop the voices with a broader south focus but particularly with a Pan African focus.
Advice for Witsies and aspirant documentary film makers
Lalloo commented that student apathy upsets her, “you should be using time best time in your life to define yourself to expose yourself”.
Lalloo said that there are many options available for students.
“It’s not going to suddenly come to you in a dream. It starts with understanding that there are options available to you.”
Prudence tells Wits Vuvuzela that she aspires to be the next governor of the South African reserve bank. Photo: Nolwazi Mjwara
Prudence Makololo is head of the Wits Association for Black Security and Investment Professionals (ABSIP). When she is not fulfilling those duties, or focusing on finance and women empowerment, this second-year BComm Finance and Economics student jet-sets across the continent to attend youth development conferences.
Malokolo has recently returned from Nigeria after winning a competition to attend the fourth annual Pan African Youth Leadership Forum (PAYLF) in Abuja.
What was the conference about?
The conference was a pan-African conference where each African country was represented by five students. We each had to submit five essays in order for us to be invited to attend the conference. The conference gave us the opportunity to meet CEOs from global companies and ambassadors in order to engage about topics that affect our continent.
What would you ultimately like to be when you are more grown up?
The first young, female black governor of the Reserve Bank in South Africa. The governors are always pretty old so I would like to add a bit of youth and female energy to the Reserve Bank.
What was the highlight of your trip?
This was my first time going to Nigeria and it was amazing to be there as it is such a beautiful country. The nightlife is also so much fun and the people there are incredibly hospitable. I felt like royalty because they were so hospitable.
What was a low from your trip?
The low was definitely the humidity and the lack of punctuality from the community as a whole. I am a very punctual person and this frustrated me a lot. But you know, at least the humidity helped with my skin.
What do you think is the biggest thing holding the youth back?
Education and unemployment. I also think that often the youth expects things to be placed into their laps as opposed to going out to get the opportunities. Like when we were out at the conference, there were many CEOs who were willing to give the youth funding for their ideas. I think that often the youth are lazy to write proposals and everything.
How do you manage being head of ABSIP society and not seeing academic flames?
I meet my commitments for Golden Key and the society in the afternoons and work on school work in the mornings and evenings. My weekends are also filled up by my academic work.
Wits Legal Office bails students out of holding cells when they get arrested, even though they are not legally obligated to do so.
The legal office particularly assists students whose parents and guardians live far away. This practice has received mixed signals from Witsies though.
Some Witsies told Wits Vuvuzela they were upset there was a budget for bailing students out when many students faced financial difficulties.
“I find the bail thing very, very weird. Bail is a personal thing. There are so many students who are struggling financially and there are other needs such as fixing buildings,” said Nyakallo Motloung, 2nd year BADA.
“People don’t have the cash and you could get arrested if you are innocent.”
On the other hand, Stu Watt, 3rd year BA Fine Art, said he thought it was a fantastic thing: “Ja, it is good. People don’t have the cash and you could get arrested if you are innocent.”
Wits Legal Office response
According to Wits Legal Office adviser Tasneem Wadvalla, the practice of bailing out Witsies is rare.
“If it’s our student and we can assist, we assist. That is what you need to know. We are here to assist students in so far as possible.”
Wadvalla said the reason the legal office assisted students with bail was that students did not have the money to cover bail.
“We do not judge the merits of that basis, we are not saying ‘yes, by us assisting you, you are not
[pullquote align=”right”]”It is simply assisting our students in so far as possible.” [/pullquote]
“We don’t delve into the issue. We don’t go into that detail. It is simply assisting our students in so far as possible.”
The legal office also steps in to verify that students do in fact belong to the Wits community. This verification assists with reflecting that students are not a flight risk.
[pullquote]“I find the bail thing very, very weird.”[/pullquote]
“He was detained in a police cell for 22 hours. For the first 14, he wasn’t offered a glass of water. Then Mothao was out on the street again.
Ruth Hopkins, a senior journalist at the Wits Justice Project, recently wrote an article in The Star that focused on the conditions in holding cells for prisoners awaiting trial and about abusive police officers.
“For the university to assist students with bail is actually fantastic. This is because there is much corruption in the justice system and the conditions of holding cells are appalling,” Hopkins said.
Hopkins’s article highlighted how many of the police service’s arrests are unjustified and random. It described how Steven Mothao was randomly stopped by the police and taken to a holding cell for no apparent reason.
“While onlookers gawked, the police officers slammed Mothao into a police van.
“The police officers never identified themselves, they did not have an arrest warrant and and they did not inform Mothao of the reasons for his arrest.”
WHITE NOISE: The exhibition Substation art gallery was poorly attended. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
By Nolwazi Mjwara and Pheladi Sethusa
Empty lecture rooms where talks were planned, no information tent and an exhibition with no pull are some of the things that contributed to the dark cloud that hung over this year’s Wits Pride celebrations.
Wits Vuvuzela headed out earlier in the week hoping to bump into people dressed in rainbow colours, ready to see all the events but all those hopes were dashed by a lack of noticeable fanfare for Wits Pride. [pullquote align=”right”]“I had no idea that it’s Pride this week. I think they haven’t advertised it enough”[/pullquote]
Witsie after Witsie had no idea that it was Wits Pride this week, largely due to the lack of visible advertising around campus.
“I had no idea that it’s Pride this week. I think they haven’t advertised it enough,” said Jabulani Moyo, 3rd year BSc Eng.
A daily exhibition held at the Substation art gallery was poorly attended. Few came to see the beautiful self-portraits by artist by Germaine de Larch.
Ella Kotze, programme officer of the Transformation Office, defended the promotion of Wits Pride on campus.
“In terms of marketing, we have put close to 1 000 posters up across all of Wits’ campuses. We have been very active on Facebook and Twitter, and we have also had a very good relationship with Voice of Wits, who has gone out of their way to promote our events and the whole concept of Wits Pride,”she said.
Kotze agreed that attendance at some events was disappointing, particularly Tuesday’s panel discussion and films.
PORTRAIT: Photography by Germaine de Larch was on sale, at a pricey R1 500 a portrait. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
However, Kotze said that an information stand and tours to Hillbrow and Constitutional Hill were very successful.
“Contributing factors are possibly varied and may include timing, as well as type of activity – perhaps Witsies don’t like movies as much as we thought,” Kotze said.
We need pride
“Pride is very, very, very necessary on campus,” said Wits Pride organising committee member Jeremiah Sepotokele, 3rd Law.
He believes the overriding culture on campus was still “very hetero-normative”, especially in a lot of the men’s residences like Knockando.
“As men’s res there’s a culture that’s very hetero, violent and masculine. That’s problematic,” said Sepotokele.
Many students start at Wits start out as homophobic but their perspective changes.
Sam Allan, 2nd year BSc, said that she was ignorant of gay rights before she had gay friends.
“I couldn’t stand gay people before,” she said.
It was only after spending time with gay people that did she begin to accept them for who they were.
Allan said she would have liked to have gone to Wits Pride events, had she known about them.
The Legal Office, nor Employee Relations, should deal with sexual harassment, the report by Norton Rose and the Centre for Applied Legal Studies recommended last week.
[pullquote]“you realise if you go ahead with this you’ll be ruining this person’s life; are you prepared to do that?”.[/pullquote]
The report revealed that both offices are conflicted and this compromises their ability to combat sexual harassment on campus.
This was revealed in the final sexual harassment report. The report also said that some sexual harassment complainants were told, “you realise if you go ahead with this you’ll be ruining this person’s life; are you prepared to do that?”.
“In our view the Legal Office is simply tasked with too many disparate roles to address sexual harassment claims comprehensively,” the report suggested.
The Legal Office and Employee Relations were exposed for not having any expertise or training in the field of sexual harassment or gender issues.
“The perception is that it is not necessary for specialists to be brought in to handle these matters, either because they are not important, or because the Legal Office currently consists largely of female attorneys, and it is believed that sexual harassment is a ‘woman’s issue’, which can be handled by any woman,” read the report.
Three particular areas were highlighted as competing interests for the Legal Office in sexual harassment issues: the university’s reputation, the complainant’s interests and the interests of the alleged perpetrator.
The report also perceived that there was a universal view that the Legal Office did not pursue difficult cases.
Complainants reported that they feel as if their issues vanished into a “black hole”.
However, the report did concede that the Legal Office had good intentions. The Legal Office’s mixed response to sexual harassment was “the result of an immeasurable overload of responsibility on the Legal Office, coupled with deficient training”.
The report found that the sexual harassment approach of the Legal Office is one which is “overly legalistic”.
In addition, staff members complained that the Legal Office told them not to speak to students about sexual harassment.
The inquiry recommended that the Legal Office should be restricted to dealing solely with the university’s interests.
Legal Office response
Prof Andrew Crouch, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic responded as follows: “My colleagues at the Legal Office and I fully support the principles which underlie the Report on Sexual Harassment released on the 4th of September 2013.
We are mindful of the nuanced nature of sexual harassment.
We have always been and remain committed to assisting and supporting complainants whose matters fall under my jurisdiction.”
[pullquote align=”right”]Complainants reported that they feel as if their issues vanished into a “black hole”.[/pullquote]
Prof Crouch added that the legal office supports complainants throughout and calls upon psychiatrists where necessary as well as, “implement practical measures to keep the complainant and accused apart from each other while the relevant process unfolds”.
The report revealed that the uncertainty between the role players was plentiful as to who was responsible for investigating claims of sexual harassment.
“These conflicting roles lead to a perception that the Employment Relations Office may encourage students to report but the Office is not available to support students through the process,” the report reflected.
In conclusion the report recommended that the Employee Relations office should not deal with sexual harassment because of the conflicted roles.
The report also revealed that intuition was used when dealing with sexual harassment as opposed to a “prescribed manner”.
“Often the policy is not consistently pursued due to a lack of practicality, time and certainty”.
[pullquote]“Often the policy is not consistently pursued due to a lack of practicality, time and certainty”.[/pullquote]
Lack of resources was another factor in the poor response as there were only two human resource officials at Wits.
“Various persons, who came before the inquiry, expressed the view that Employment Relations indicated that they were burdened by their complaints and did not do their best to deal with the matter.”
The inquiry also received complaints that communication involving follow-ups was reported as inconsistent or absent. The report highlighted inconsistencies, lack of co-ordination, lack of training on the issue, and a lack of resources.
Wits Vuvuzela: Wits Legal Office “gags” politics department. March 12, 2013
A crowd of eager art lovers could not resist the magnetism of the historical photographic archive dating back to the 1800’s and commemorating the 1913 Land Act.
The exhibition Umhlaba 1913-2013: Commemorating the 1913 Land Act opened this week at the Gertrude Posel Core Gallery in the Wits Art Museum.
1913 Land Act
This year marks 100 years since the 1913 Land Act was passed. The act helped to successfully disenfranchise indigenous South African’s in terms of land ownership and its repercussions are still felt today.
[pullquote align=”right”]”No single photographic exhibition could illustrate the full diversity of our complex realities”[/pullquote]
Curator of the Umhlaba Exhibiton, Bongi Dhlomo-Matloa said that the exhibition’s purpose was to help people remember their history. “Commemoration is a relative term here, we are remembering this act that left blacks with only 7% of the land,” she said. Dhlomo-Matloa coincidently wore a black and white ensemble matching the monochromatic nature of most of the photographs on display. She said it was merely a coincidence but nonetheless she carried the colours of our history around her neck and on her shoulders.
Next to the exhibition’s entrance was a plaque detailing the aims, limitations and history behind the curation. “No single photographic exhibition could illustrate the full diversity of our complex realities,” but this by no means, kept the artist/photographer from making an attempt to illustrate those complex realities.
This history could not only be seen, but was also heard as jazz, afro-soul and choral music ushered people up the ramp and along the walls of the gallery. It was quite jarring to hear the juxtaposition between Miriam Makeba’s voice sing Gauteng and then immediately after, a choir sing Die Stem, while standing at the wall with all the apartheid-era photography on it.
[pullquote]“Commemoration is a relative term here, we are remembering this act that left blacks with only 7% of the land”[/pullquote] Dlomo-Matloa went on to say that these photos were used as they “are very exact” and can therefore accurately depict the reality they captured. The first colour picture seen in the gallery was on the apartheid wall, a photograph by David Goldblatt. It was taken in 1987 at a resettlement camp in the Wittlesea district of the then Ciskei.
Fourth year photography student Melissa Bennett, said she loved how the photos told a story of overcoming boundaries. She was also particularly intrigued by the way the photos had been arranged according to a historical timeline.
Dhlomo-Matloa said that the exhibition was displayed in chronological sequence laid out in a timeline to reflect how things and people changed as time went on. Although a huge amount of images were available, budget and space constraints restricted how many photographs could be exhibited.
The photography on display showcases some of the most talented photographers in the country, like Peter Magubane, Paul Weinburg and Ingrid Hudson.
After a walk about the whole gallery, the reality of our history was more than apparent. The exhibition will be on display until January 2014.
Watch the video below in which curator Dhlomo-Matloa talks about the exhibition:
ACCUSED NUMBER 35: Elizabeth Mpofu displays the charge sheet
that her accounting exam had an irregularity. Photo: Mia Swart
By Nolwazi Mjwara and Mia Swart
A WITSIE is a year behind in her studies because her former school was involved in the first matricm exam fraud in the history of the Gauteng department of education (GDE) to involve ghost writers.
Elizabeth Mpofu, 2nd year LLB, was one of the “35 to 40” students who had irregularities in their final matric examinations. While she and the other students wrote their exams in good faith, their former schools had allegedly brought in other people to write exams under their names.
The two implicated schools, Robin Hood College and Vine College in the Johannesburg CBD, are private independent schools with the same director. Both receive larger government subsidies if their final matric pass rates are high.
[pullquote align=”right”]“Up until today we do not know what really happened to our original scripts, and the matter has been swept under the carpet for far too long now.”[/pullquote]
Wits Vuvuzela was not able to obtain comment from the director of the two schools at the time of going to press. His cellphone message told callers that he was currently out of the country.
Mpofu wrote her matric in 2010 at Vine College and passed all her subjects -except for one.
“Well, when the results came out in 2011, I got the shock of my life. My accounting results had been blocked as a result of an irregularity I had allegedly committed.”
All the students affected by the fraud were initially called to face charges of irregularities before the GDE, but were found not guilty.
Mpofu was only permitted to rewrite her accounting exam at the end of 2011. She obtained a result of 79%.“Up until today we do not know what really happened to our original scripts, and the matter has been swept under the carpet for far too long now.”
Approached for comment, GDE spokesperson, Gershwin Chuenyane, said it had been recommended that the candidates’ marks be declared null and void and that the principal and all the educators from the two colleges be suspended from conducting any examination activities. The schools had to be de-registered as examination centres.
The GDE has taken over all examination activities and administration of the National Senior Certificate exams at the two colleges since 2011. But Chuenyane said the GDE could not institute charges against the principals and educators of Vine and Robin Hood Independent Schools because “they were not employed in terms of the Employment of Educators’ Act”.
Mpofu said: “I have since tried getting some legal advice from the Wits Law Clinic and I have been told that I can’t open a case without the final report of the investigation.”
Another former pupil affected by the fraud, Nonhlanhla Siwela, said she too had to wait an entire year to re-write her examination.
Siwela had two blocked subjects:physical science and life sciences.
The principal of the school in 2011, a “Mr Sibanda”, was present at her disciplinary hearing. “He told us to tell the board that the papers did belong to us. We all knew that they did not belong to us because the handwriting did not match our own.
“He also said that the department of education was racist and that they were jealous of the schools because they were private.”
Siwela said they were upset that the department had not told the former learners what action had been taken against the schools and their staff. They feared the evidence had been destroyed.
Another affected learner who studied at Vine College, Thabitha Ndlovu, discovered during the GDE’s investigation that three subjects, life sciences, physics and mathematics had been written for her. The ghost writers had passed the subjects with results of over 60%.
Wits has produced the most actuarial graduates from previously disadvantaged homes.
The latest report by the South African Actuaries Development Programme (SAADP) revealed that of all the bursaries given out at three universities, Wits had the most graduates. Wits has not only produced the most actuarial science graduates, but also has the most qualified actuaries.
[pullquote]“Often actuary students do not have the strongest social lives. We facilitate social breaks where the students can meet and share their experiences and problems. Balance is important,”[/pullquote]
Nokwanda Mkhize, director of the SAADP programme, told Wits Vuvuzela that in 2002, before the programme started, there was only one black qualified actuary in South Africa. She said there were three coloured and 14 Indian actuaries of the qualified actuaries in South Africa at that time.
These figures were what drove the development of the programme.
Cyril Ramaphosa, the first chairman of the SAADP board at its inception in 2003, was instrumental in commissioning the programme.
“Ramaphosa called the strategy of the programme the ‘shotgun approach’. This was because Ramaphosa realised that it would take around 20 years to fix the science and maths issue in schools.
“At that time he knew that there were students excelling in those subjects and they should be identified and be given extensive support at the tertiary level.”
The SAADP strives to increase the number of black actuaries in South Africa. The programme identifies crucial talent and supports students from selection until qualification.
“The programme focuses on assisting students to unlearn the bad exam and test skills that often invovle cramming,” Mkhize said. Mkhize said that students are under the guidance of a coordinator and mentor at each of the three univerisites that the programme is offered.
The other universities are the University of Cape Town and the University of Pretoria, which is the most recent university to join. Asked what key elements contribute to the programmes’s success, Mkhize said: “It is hands-on from the time a student is selected until graduation.
“Often actuary students do not have the strongest social lives. We facilitate social breaks where the students can meet and share their experiences and problems. Balance is important,” she said.
Mkhize added that Ramaphosa’s passion was no doubt a contributing factor to the programme’s success. “He really cared about the students. At times, when a student had problems, he would take money not from the programme but from his own pocket to really make a difference.”
Melinda Bam decided she would be Miss South Africa before she submitted her entry form.
The cum laude BCom Marketing graduate turned business woman, told Witsies that it was important to write your goals down and commit to them. Bam addressed students and media at the first Network Connections event held by the Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU) at Café Fino last night.
[pullquote]“You all have so many contacts on your phones, twitter and other social networks right? But how many of those have turned into a job or a bursary or a book?” [/pullquote]
Bam told the guests that her father’s suicide when she was eleven forced her to reflect on the person she wanted to be.
“I initially thought that I would probably have ‘daddy issues’ or that my reaction to it would have made me the perfect muse for artists and musicians from the experience,” she said.
She told the audience that her grandfather’s quote helped her tremendously in dealing with difficult experiences in life: “’You are not a product of your circumstance but a product of choice,’ is what my grandpa told me.”
Nicole Msomi, student development practitioner told the guests that the purpose of “Network Connections” was to create a space for students to engage with influential individuals who attended the events.
“You all have so many contacts on your phones, twitter and other social networks right? But how many of those have turned into a job or a bursary or a book?” she asked the Witsies.
Msomi added that the events aimed to inspire Witsies to network more effectively and maintain long lasting networks.
Bam also told the audience that one of the activities at the Miss South Africa qualifiers included a networking challenge at an event. If entrants had not collected five business cards by the end of it, they had failed.
Wanting something more
Bam told Witsies that when she was in first year in 2008 she wanted “something more” and wanted to break through mediocrity.
[pullquote align=”right”]“We are all diamonds, you just need to refine and polish what you already are.”[/pullquote]
The former beauty queen told the audience that when she watched her mom, who is a gospel singer and public speaker, perform, she realised that she also wanted to give back in her own way: “We are all diamonds, you just need to refine and polish what you already are.”
Grass isn’t always greener
Bam said when she was younger she moved to China to pursue a modelling career. She also wanted to move to get out of her bubble that she had known in Pretoria.
“I thought the grass would be greener on the other side, but there wasn’t even a lot of grass when I got to China!” she said.
The power of Women
Bam shed some insight on being a woman this women’s month. She said that in our modern world women often felt pressure to live in a man’s world and change to fit into that world. “Why do we want to change to be something that we are not? We are not men we are 100% women. We must be the best version of what we already are. It is a strength that we are 100% women not a weakness.”
Witsies use various modes of transport to travel to and from campus everyday. Some take 15 minute walks, while others have to travel for up to two hours. Wits Vuvuzela went out to bus stops, popular taxi pick up points, pedestrian crossings and trains stations to find out how the commute is for students and staff.
A day in the life
Witsie Yusuf Bapeekee at the Braamfontein train station. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Yusuf Bapeekee used to travel by motor bike when he lived in the West Rand near Kagiso. He recently moved to Mayfair and now walks daily to and from campus. [pullquote align=”right”]“I normally leave campus around 3.30, [but] because it’s Ramadan I leave around 1.15, after prayers.”[/pullquote]
“I never see anything out of the ordinary… just small school kids that walk free not scared. I see them and I feel free.”
Bapeekee said it took him “half hour tops” to make the commute. He said he left home at 7.15am. “I try to be early for my lectures”, he said as a smile grew across face.
“I normally leave campus around 3.30, [but] because it’s Ramadan I leave around 1.15, after prayers.”
Bapeekee said he enjoyed the walk. “It’s free to walk, plus it’s exercise.”
Asked about the crime associated with route around Enoch Sontonga Avenue, Bapeekee said:
“If I saw more students I’d feel even better.”
Walk on by
Ntombi Mbatha carefully crosses the street. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
A short brisk walk is all it takes for Ntombi Mbatha, 1st year BHSc, to get to and from campus. She lives at a Southpoint building just two blocks away from campus.
Even though her journey is uncomplicated she nearly got hit by a taxi once. She said that experience has made her think more than twice before crossing the street now.
She is fascinated by the high school students she passes on her way because they remind her of her days as one of them.
Ntombi feels very safe walking in Braamfontein.
“I went downtown once and it was just such a mess, Braam is better,” she said.
Ngake Mukgowane rushing to catch his train home. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
Students aren’t the only ones who have to commute to and from Wits. Staff members also have their own transport missions.
Ngake Mukgowane is a Wits staff member who uses the train to commute.
He leaves his home in Dobsonville at 5.30am every morning and has to travel for about an hour and a half to reach Braamfontein station.
Mukgowane has been working at Wits for 18 years and has been a train commuter for most of those years.
He was in a rush to catch his 4pm train when Wits Vuvuzela reporters found him.
60 minute trip
John Malungani shows us how to call a taxi. Photo: Pheladi Sethusa
John Malungani, 1st year BSc Com Sci,
has to commute for at least one hour a day to get to campus.
He says that he is more than willing to make the trip because of the good reputation that Wits has.
John lives in Tembisa. There is no taxi that comes straight from there to Wits, so he has to walk for another 15 minutes once he reaches Noord taxi rank.
He wishes he lived a little closer so that he could work and study till late on campus like other students.
“It’s hard travelling for two hours a day,” said Malungani.
A Wits bus travelling at “a ridiculous speed” shot through two sets of red robots while carrying a number of Wits students back to their residences last week, according to a Witsie who was on the bus.
Nokulunga Sithole, LLB, tweeted about the event to the All Residence Council: “It is unacceptable for bus drivers to be beating red robots and driving at such a ridiculous speed so late at night.”
Sithole was on the reverse circuit bus on August 1 at 11pm when the bus driver drove through the red traffic lights near KPMG on Empire Rd, on the way to Knockando, she said. He then jumped another set of red robots between Ernest Oppenheimer residence and Knockando.
[pullquote]Honestly sometimes when I am on the bus I don’t feel safe and am thankful when I get to my destination[/pullquote].
“Not only that, but the speed he was driving at was just ridiculous.”
As an indication of how fast the bus was travelling, the LLB student told Wits Vuvuzela it took only 15 minutes to get from main campus to Esselen. In her experience, this trip had never taken so little time.
“I’ve been on the bus a number of times where the bus driver will speed up just to beat a robot and sometimes pass a robot just as it turns red.”
Last term, Wits Vuvuzela wrote about reckless driving of buses, reported by students. A student tweeted Wits Services Department, of which the bus services forms part: “Wits drivers shud revise the way they drive cz sum of em are reckless. ‘XLZ996 GP’ @ 11:45 bus to JCE! wasnt pleased.[sic]”
At the time, bus services operations manager, Sue-Ann Reid, told Wits Vuvuzela the complaints were referred to management, who then spoke to the drivers. But this week, Sithole said Wits Bus Services had not yet come back to her about her complaint.
Honestly sometimes when I am on the bus I don’t feel safe and am thankful when I get to my destination
Wits Vuvuzela contacted Wits Services, but at the time of going to print, had not received any comment.
Wits Vuvuzela: Stranded students robbed. May 21, 2013.