Project W recently spoke to Wits Vuvuzela to set the record straight about the allegations of mismanagement of funds.
Project W offices. Photo: Provided
An article that was published by Wits Vuvuzela revealed that Project W is under investigation, for mismanagement of funds collected during an iPad raffle competition held in 2014.
Dr. Pamela Dube, Dean of Students at Wits University, confirmed to Wits Vuvuzela that, “A separate process is being conducted together with Project W pertaining to allegations about them.”
But Project W says that they have no knowledge of this investigation.
The organisation also said that it was inaccurate to allege that R50000 was collected in the raffle competition. The actual amount was R10 370, which is the amount that they raised last year for the iPad raffle.
“We never raised R50 000, at no particular point did we say we raised R50 000” said Jamie Mighti, member of Project W. “I don’t know where Shaeera gets that number, R50 000.”
“when we raise money, we raise money, solely for students”
Mighti said that the money from the raffle was initially meant to go the Humanitarian Fund but the organisation later decided that they would instead contribute the proceeds to their own textbook fund. At the time posters about the raffle which had already been printed and put up advertised that funds collected would go to the Humanitarian Fund, but Project W later made it clear to the Student Representative Council that the money raised would not go the Humanitarian Fund.
Project W revealed that they had made numerous posts on their Facebook page about their text book fund, which is what they have used the money for. Evidence provided by Thamsanqa Pooe, President of Project W, indicated that the money was used for the text book fund.
“Thanks to all those Witsies who helped raise money for the textbook fund. Project W has been able to hand over R15000 worth of books over the last semester for students,” read’s a post that the organisation had put up Facebook on May 13.
What about the car raffle?
The earlier article published by Wits Vuvuzela mentioned that the car raffle that project W was hosting this year was cancelled due to the investigation. Project W however has confirmed that as far as they know, the win a car raffle was not cancelled but instead put on hold.
“The raffle was not cancelled in the first instance, there were some things which were not aware we had to comply with, which we have complied with. We are pending to resume the raffle “, said Mighti, who added that, “Comrades complained and said we were campaigning and that’s why the raffle was suspended.”
Pooe added that, “With the car raffle, the purpose is to raise money for students with outstanding fees… when we raise money, we raise money, solely for students.”
Wits University has confirmed that Project W is under investigation after allegations of not depositing fifty thousand rand that was meant to be their contribution to the Humanitarian Fund.
Dr. Pamela Dube, Dean of students, confirmed that Project W is under investigation for mismanagement of funds saying, “A separate process is being conducted together with Project W pertaining to allegations about them.”
The win-a-car raffle that Project W was running during their election campaign was cancelled because of the investigation. “Project W had to be guided about the appropriate University procedures to follow in this regard and they are now addressing the gaps in the process,” said Dube.
“We feel the university has protected Project W for fraud,”
Shaeera Kalla brought up the missing funds during an election rally at Education Campus where she openly confronted Project W about the missing funds, asking “Where is the money?”
SHOWING INITIATIVE: Project W’s Jamie Mighti stands with a flyer with information about the win-a-car initiative at the Project W office.
Wits Vuvuzela contacted Shaeera Kalla, acting president of the current SRC. She said that the SRC had made inquiries about the missing money since January. The fifty thousand rand was raised by Project W last year for a raffle to win an iPad. Kalla said that this money was supposed to go to the Humanitarian fund but she has yet to see the money deposited into the fund.
Kalla said that the money has not been accounted for by Project W and upon asking the party about the funds they refused to respond to her.
“We feel the university has protected Project W for fraud,” said Kalla.
Jamie Mighti a prominent member of Project W, was not available for comment at the time of publishing.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Jamie Mighti was a former leader of Project W. As mentioned here, Jamie Mighti is just a member, of Project W, who often makes statements on behalf of the organisation.
We are all victims to the system!
You wake up in the morning, to act out your gendered role, to go to work, to drive on the right sight of the road, to abide by the laws of the country that you belong to as a citizen – just so you don’t get in anybody’s way… We are all victims to the system.
I enrolled at Wits four years ago, unaware of my disempowered, caged self. Until my first year in Sociology when I was taught that everything that I know has been part of a systematic control mechanism to ultimately make me a pawn to whatever category I fit into. And I have never felt more like a number than I do now. A fourth year Wits student who has a part-time job just so I can pay for my student loans and get to school, just so I can somehow make it in an industry that I thought was set to keep power in check. I was wrong, no matter how many Ruth First discussions we have, we will never be able to hold power to account in any meaningful way.
“We have been forcefully detached from ourselves for the sake of control and there is no way around it because tomorrow you and I will wake up before sunset to please those who have downsized our worth to a number.”
We are entrenched in capitalism, patriarchy, and a system of laws that are all ultimately steeped in injustice and inequalities. Societal structures that are supposed to liberate us, instead infringe on our freedoms to do whatever the f*ck we want. Methods of control to dictate to us who and what we should be and even how we should be spending our time.
We are being policed at every point of our lives.
The puppet masters
The only people who benefit from this systematic infringement are those who are on top. They hold the power to do what they want with the lives of others and make decisions in order to allow the oppression to continue.
These people who occupy positions at the top of boards and heads of councils, sit in leather seats – specifically designed for their comfortable execution of oppression – have already made decisions about you and your place in this world. The worst part is that these people consider themselves humans but really they are just pawns as well. These “humans” cower behind their rhetoric of equality, peace and justice because they have the privilege of not having to account for not putting those words into action. Never considering that the money they make is not because of how hard they worked but because of how easily they were able to disregard the lives of others for their own personal gain, and many of us have done the same thing. Whose blood do you have on your hands?
We have been brainwashed into the belief that if we bow down and submit to the rules of gender, citizenship, religion and money, we would be rewarded. In essence we end up neglecting the self in order to move forward in our lives. But why should that be the case? Why should we submit to the constant policing of our opinions and all forms of our expression? Why should we be victimised by this all-encompassing power that controls universities, streets and social spaces?
It’s because we do not own ourselves. We have been forcefully detached from ourselves for the sake of control and there is no way around it because tomorrow you and I will wake up before sunset to please those who have downsized our worth to a number. Student number, ID number, tax number, clothing size number, licence number…
You and I, we’re just numbers.
Karabo Mokoena is a 21 year Environmental Science student at Wits who is trying to change perceptions about black women’s natural hair and empower Africa at the same time. She is the CEO of a company called Nalane ea Afrika (African heritage) which produces natural hair care products for anyone who wants to manage their hair better.
EMPOWERING AFRICA: Karabo Mokoena is a Wits student making waves with her hair product Nalane ea Afrika. Photo: Lwazi Mazibuko
Why did you start Nalane ea Afrika?
“It was that thing of, I’ve never seen MY hair. Having my hair natural means that, it’s my hair in its natural state, in its unique state… When we were little we would be forced to relax our hair and in those days, it was so painful. You would always burn from the relaxer and we want to prevent a lot of parents from having doing that to their kids because now we have the resources to change that.”
What is different about your product?
“One of the things that we strive for in the company is to only use African products. Everything that we use must be African. Even if we buy our oils, all our raw materials must be African. We even want the people who are giving us the raw materials to process them in Africa. So we want to empower Africa as a whole.”
How do you juggle the management of Nalane ea Afrika with your studies?
“My role right now is basically running the company, it’s still very small. The company I dedicate to during weekends. When I’m at school, I’m at school. I have my school time and then in between, even in between lectures, I’ll look at my e-mails to see what we need to do. I haven’t neglected my studies, I’m doing very well.”
How has your degree help you create the product?
“It helped in the sense that I did chemistry first year level, so that helped me understand when I was doing the research behind which products to use, which raw materials to use and if they would mix. I had a bit of background in that, so does my sister.”
Do you think that black girls at Wits are becoming more comfortable with their hair?
“I think so, I don’t think I could say yes or no. I only come on campus to do school and then I leave. So the people that I see – I see a lot of people with natural hair.”
What is the most important thing you want to achieve with your product?
“We’re going through a time where people are so conscious especially black women and I think the thing about having natural hair is seeing your true self. So I would like to achieve changing the mentality that – you being your natural self – is not right. That you can’t manage your hair because it looks unruly or it looks untidy. There’s so many hair styles you can do with your natural hair and I just want people to love themselves the way that they are.”
Criminal activity on Enoch Sontonga has been an issue for Wits University campus control for a while, the recent increase in muggings has prompted action from the university.
It’s a quiet Friday afternoon on Enoch Sontonga Avenue commuters are steadily making their way home from work. Two women are walking, comfortably enough to have an intense conversation between them. As they make way for a man in blue overalls to pass them by, he snatches one of the women’s bags!
Her companion runs into on-coming traffic out of fear and the jogging man continues to run on steadily with his stolen goods. He ducks through a hole in the gate of a park and out of sight. His victim stands still, wide-eyed, her hands over her mouth – bagless. It’s another day on Enoch Sontonga.
DANGER DRIVE: The recent increase in criminal activities on Enoch Sontonga Avenue has prompted Wits University to up the level of security on the busy road. Enoch Sontonga Avenue runs along the Strurrock Park sports precinct, parallel to the Enoch Sontonga memorial park. Photo: Rafieka Williams
The safety issues on Enoch Sontonga, which lies just outside the university campus, have recently been brought to the attention of Wits University due to the mugging of a number of people, students and staff members alike.
Lemy Rantsatsi, a first year student at Wits said she was robbed this year around 12:30 in the day, while she was on her way home. “They just grabbed me and took my stuff and jumped over the wall at the bridge,” she said.
According to Rantsatsi there was no security around at the time and she continues to walk on the road because the taxi fare home is too expensive considering that she stays close by.
Wits University campus control responds
Robert Kemp from Campus Control said that the university had been aware of the dangers of the area for some time now. “We have a patrol on the stretch of road up to the Raikes Road Gate,” he said. The patrol members who are intended to patrol in these places wear black uniforms with blue reflector jackets and can be seen along any of the routes described.
He also said that the university intends to increase patrols in the area and has requested SAPS intervention.
Kemp added, “Students should avoid walking along Enoch Sontonga after dark if possible, motorists should be careful when using this stretch of road, particularly when stationary at traffic lights. Keep doors locked and windows closed and valuables out of site and locked in the boot. Do not use cell phones in public view.”
The road runs along the West Campus entrance of the University as well as the Sturrock Park sports precinct.
As the public awaits President Jacob Zuma’s release of the Marikana Commission of Inquiry report, miners and family members affected by the events of Marikana get a chance to share their experiences of the Commission.
MARIKANA ADVOCATE Advocate George Bizos, was among the attendees at the ‘Commissioning the present’ conference this passed weekend. Photo: Tendai Dube
Veteran lawyer and anti-apartheid activist, George Bizos, implored lawyers and organisations to pressure government to accept civil liability for the women and children of the victims of Marikana.
Bizos was speaking at the closure of the Commissioning the Present conference at Wits University on Saturday. The three day conference was organised by Social Economic Rights Institute (SERI) and the Wits History Workshop and took place from May 7-9.
“It gives voice to the victims of the massacre and their families – a group of people who were almost completely left out of the Commission’s work and narrative.”
Dr Julian Brown, a politics lecturer at Wits, and one of the organisers of the event, said the conference had hoped to “bring the voices of academics, lawyers, the families of the deceased, and the miners themselves into conversation with each other, so that we can learn from our different insights”.
Brown added that the conference would “interrogate the ways in which stories about the Marikana massacre have been constructed by the state and other public players – in particular, by the Commission of Inquiry”.
The Marikana Commission of Inquiry, headed by Judge Ian Farlam, was set up to investigate the events of Marikana (which led to the deaths of 44 people, 70 injuries and 250 arrests).
Stuart Wilson, executive director at SERI said the conference was important because, “It gives voice to the victims of the massacre and their families – a group of people who were almost completely left out of the Commission’s work and narrative.”
Unsatisfactory treatment during the Marikana commission of inquiry
A panel of miners and family members of deceased miners were given a platform to share their first hand experiences.
“I know that wasn’t done in order to find out the truth, it was done in order to persecute us.”
From their accounts, it was clear that there is a general belief that police were treated with greater dignity and respect during the Marikana Commission.
“I know that wasn’t done in order to find out the truth, it was done in order to persecute us,” said one of the panellists.
Nathabang Ntsenyeno broke down in tears as she spoke about how she watched her husband being killed in a video that was shown at the Commission. She added that the Commission was unsympathetic towards her, specifically pointed to the use of the term “uneducated” in reference to her and others at the Commission.
Nomasonto Gadlela explained how miners were repeatedly asked the same questions to the point where they felt intimidated.
Bringing together academia and lived experiences
The conference also hosted academics who presented their work on Marikana.
The scholarly works dealt with topics such as – the lived experiences of men and women in Marikana; the social conditions in which the strike, and then the massacre took place; the role of Lonmin and mining capital, and the role of the police, to name a few.
Something that resonated from the scholarly works to the lived experiences of those affected was the reality of the lives of women in Marikana. Many women in the community have been forced to work in the Lonmin mines after losing their husbands because they have no other form of income or ways of supporting their families.
This has left many of these women feeling as if they are “a laughing stock” but they do it out of desperation, explained Nomfanelo Jali.
President Jacob Zuma has received Judge Farlam’s report and released a statement on May 10 indicating that he would release it publicly “in due course”.
The train was on its way from Pretoria to Johannesburg when it collided with a stationary carriage.
METRORAIL CRASH: Metroplus carriages derailed into a building and another onto a platform. Photo: Illanit Chernick
A train crash in Denver, Johannesburg left one person dead and over 240 people injured, on Tuesday.
“I just heard this loud bang. The coach flew forward and lost its balance. I fell to the floor. There were people bleeding everywhere. I’m in shock.” The rear end collision took place in the early hours of the morning, when a Business Express train collided with a stationary Metrorail train. Both trains were travelling from Pretoria to Johannesburg.
At the scene of the crash, the metroplus carriages were derailed, one crashed onto the platform and another into a building.
One of the victims told The Star, “I just heard this loud bang. The coach flew forward and lost its balance. I fell to the floor. There were people bleeding everywhere. I’m in shock.”
Russell Meiring, an ER spokesperson added, “ER24 paramedics, along with various services, arrived on the scene and found the wrecked trains blocking the tracks completely. Bent metal and parts of the train had been spread across the scene.”
Crash was not caused by signal failure
Mosenngwa Mofi, CEO of Prasa (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) rail operations ruled out signal failure as the cause of the accident. He said that the crash occurred during the two minutes that the Metroplus train driver was communicating with the Metrorail control officer about whether or not to continue.
The woman who died has been identified as Tiisetso Napo, a Metrorail safety guard. Napo was standing at the back of the stationery train when the crash occurred.
Another woman, who has been identified as one of the train drivers, was air-lifted from the scene and taken to hospital where she is currently receiving critical healthcare.
CEO of Prasa, Lucky Monatana has said that Prasa will compensate the passengers that have been injured and has set aside 25 million rand. “The 25 million are for people who have suffered minor injuries… People will claim and we will pay them between R7 500, which is the minimum amount, and the maximum amount we will pay is R15 000, that will depend on the nature and extent of your injuries.”
Montana acknowledged the shortcomings of the current system and said that Prasa is in the process of implementing better railway systems. He also said that with the new systems there will be less space for human error.
CORRECTION: This article was initially headlined “Wits med students facing disciplinary action”, lending the impression that the group of students involved are those registered for the Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree or MBBCh. The students referred to are those registered for the BCMP or the Bachelor of Clinical Medical Practice. Wits Vuvuzela regrets the error which has been corrected below.
A group of BCMP (Bachelor of Clinical Medical Practice) students are facing disciplinary action after it was discovered that they skipped out on hours during their hospital rotations.
Photo: Tendai Dube
Some Wits clinical medical practice students are facing disciplinary action, including being forced to deregister for their third year studies, as they falsified their practices requirements in second year.
A group of 24 students, who do not want to be named, are undergoing disciplinary hearings after it was discovered they had lied about meeting the requirements during their second-year clinical practice course. Evidence showed they had skipped out on hours that they were meant to serve at designated hospitals in Gauteng.
Thus far, two students have been allowed to continue to third year, three have been excluded and majority of the students have been told that they need to repeat second year.
“The conditions that we worked under, was not what we were promised”
According to those who have not been allowed to continue third year, the outcomes of the hearings are unfair because the transgressions are similar.
Unfair treatment and bad conditions
In addition the students feel that the harsh implications of their actions far outweigh the unfair treatment they received at both the hospitals and at the Faculty of Health Sciences.
“From day one, we’ve complained and nobody has done anything about it,”
Between struggling with challenging hospital conditions, lack of facilities, CommCare complications, dismissive doctors and lack of tutors, students claim that they were abandoned in their difficulties.
“The conditions that we worked under, was not what we were promised,” said one of the students.
Leaked e-mails between faculty staff and students, reveal they tried since last year to make their grievances heard but according to them these were ignored. They felt as though no efforts were made to help them better understand the course because they were not assigned a tutor.
“From day one, we’ve complained and nobody has done anything about it,” said another student. “We were left at the hospitals to fend for ourselves.”
The situation took a turn for the worse when two students confessed to their fraudulent behaviour and presented information to the faculty that implicated other students. This evidence would later turn out to be the primary evidence against the BCMP 24.
The dean and staff members of the faculty declined to give comment to Wits Vuvuzela, citing the ongoing hearings.
Meeting with the vice chancellor
Wits Vuvuzela observed a meeting between the students and Vice Chancellor Adam Habib. The vice chancellor told the students he could not interfere with the legal processes of the Wits students to allow them to finish third year.
“Even if I wanted to intervene, I can’t because our disciplinary process is an independent process and the vice chancellor has no authority to over-ride,” said Habib.
He added that it would be illegal to pass the students even if they had met most of the requirements to pass second year.
Students say they had passed the second year and the test they wrote about the practical experience they were meant to receive at the hospitals and by allowing them to register, they were misled to believe that they wouldn’t be taken action against.
In response to their outcry that the penalty was too harsh, Habib told the students that they had not done the necessary clinical practice to qualify for third-year. He added that their initial claim to have done clinical practice was “a fraudulent transaction”.
Habib also said he would be investigating the conditions the students had to undergo whilst they were doing their rotations and make a full enquiry into it, independent of the investigation.
The BCMP course requires students to do practical rotations at specific hospitals in Gauteng and North West provinces. Only students from Gauteng hospitals have been implicated in transgressions.
Young people from Johannesburg used social media to mobilise a march to the Gauteng Legislature in an anti-xenophobia silent protest
SILENT PROTEST: group of youngsters sit quietly in front of Luthuli house in Johannesburg CBD. Photo: Rafieka Williams
Using social media and the hashtag“#SilentProtest”, a group of young people came together in an anti-xenophobia silent protest in Johannesburg CBD (Central Business Dsitrict), yesterday.
Starting with a twitter rant, organisers Thabang Manyelo and Sandiselwe Gamede decided to put their concerns about the recent attacks on foreign nationals into action. They asked fellow twitter users to join them in a protest at Luthuli house at 10am yesterday morning.
In response to Manyelo and Gamede’s tweets, a group of approximately 100 youngsters, many of whom had never met before, came together to show solidarity with foreign nationals living in South Africa.
Manyelo said his hopes for the march were about “Applying pressure on the government, saying that we won’t stand for this and we’re hoping you [government] see us and actually do something about it, not just make a statement and then let it be”.
From Luthuli House to Gauteng Legislature
The march started at the ANC (African National Congress) headquarters, Luthuli House where the protestors stood quietly holding up signs condemning ‘xenophobia’. They then moved silently, with tape over their mouths, through Beyers Naude Square to the Gauteng Legislature.
WE ARE AFRICA: Protesters from different backgrounds gather at Beyers Naude Square in solidarity with foreign nationals who have suffered. Photo: Rafieka Williams
When they arrived at the Gauteng Legislature building, they remained completely silent for an hour before singing the national anthem.
Acie Lumumba, Chairperson of the Youth Council of Zimbabwe, thanked the youth for their support.
Lumumba said the march changed his perception of how the majority of South Africans felt towards foreign nationals.
“I came here specifically against the advice of many Zimbabweans because I wanted to know, is this really what South Africa has become. And I’m happy to go back with a message to say even if it’s one, even if its two, there is still hope where Zimbabwe and South Africa can have a young generation that intertwines and builds towards a more prosperous region in Africa.”
Silence is Golden
LEST WE FORGET: the group of youngsters ended their march on Gauteng Legislature doorstep, where they sang the national anthem. Photo: Rafieka Williams
Explaining the reason for silence, Gamede said they wanted, “To start peacefully and end peacefully… We need to find pro-active ways to challenge views that we disagree with, without killing each other.”
According to Manyelo, the big message that the march is trying to drive is that social media can be an effective part of activism. He believes that their efforts will have a ripple effect on the government to be more pro-active in doing something about the violence.
Smash Afrika, Yfm presenter and a former Witsie also heard about the cause through social media.
“The reason why I came here is because we have a f*cking crisis in our country that we need to fix ASAP and the only way we can fix it, is if young people come together and stand up against this … Xenophobia is whack (sic) and it needs to come to an end,” said Afrika.
Kirsten Leo, a 23 year old former Witsie said, “People are frustrated and they are directing there energy in the wrong way … As South Africans we can’t allow this.”
Combining creativity and academia, the International Doing Human Conference hopes to “transform people’s thinking”.
Graphic: Courtesy WICDs
A novel conference that aims to interrogate the idea of the human, will bring together academics and creatives at Wits University next week
The Doing Human conference takes place from April 14-16 with prominent speakers including Professors Ranabir Samaddar, Achille Mbembe, Xoliswa Sithole and T. O Molefe among others.
Prinola Govinden from WICDs (Wits Centre for Diversity (WICDs), the hosts of the conference, said it was conceptualised by looking at creatives and the work they do in relation to humans. As such, the conference includes writers, artists, filmmakers, and intellectuals.
Haley McEwan, a researcher at WICDs said, “The motivation behind the event would be to foreground the politically contested nature of the category of the human”.
She also said the idea of the human is used in a common sense way but there is not enough critical debate and discussion surrounding the subject of human.
Although the 3 day conference will host keynote academics including Wits VC (Vice Chancellor) Prof Adam Habib, the interdisciplinary nature of the event encourages people of all different backgrounds to come and participate.
The event on April 14th is open to the public at the Wits Theatre.
For more information visit Doing Human Conference.
In light of the start of Johannesburg cycle week there is a difference in opinion between public transport and cyclists
COMMUTERS: Cyclists want consequences to be enforced when vehicles are parked in cycling lanes. Photo: Rafieka Williams
Johannesburg Cycle week starts today, but whether or not cycling in Braamfontein is a sensible option for commuters is in question.
This week will be used as a way to educate commuters about the use of cycling lanes. But taxi drivers and bus drivers, are complaining about the space that lanes take up on the roads in Braamfontein.
“It’s disturbing because it makes the roads smaller”
Luka Sibiya (59) who has been driving buses for 25 years said, “It’s an interruption because you stand here for one hour but you won’t see a single person riding a bike.” He added, “Now we have to stop in the middle of the road and that is going to hold up traffic.”
“It’s disturbing because it makes the roads smaller,” said 33-year-old taxi driver, Sifiso Thwala. He thinks the lanes are unnecessary and that it threatens taxi drivers’ job security because people will want to cycle instead of taking taxis.
Making Johannesburg a more cycle friendly city
Cyclist Mehita Iqani of the Johannesburg Urban Cycling Association (JUCA) believes that Braamfontein is an ideal place for cycling lanes. According to Iqani the lanes provide a protective space for cyclists on the road. When asked about other commuters who don’t respect the cycling lanes, she said “they’re not interested in sharing the road … Cars that park in the lanes need to stop doing that”.
Simphiwe Ntuli of Johannesburg Road Agency said the reason for the lanes were on the basis that there are a large number of students who cannot afford public transport and don’t have their own cars.
“As the City of Johannesburg, our strategy is to educate our community with one on one talks and leaflets” said Ntuli. The next step would be to enforce the rules of the road said Ntuli, “if you park on the lane you get a nice big fine.”