Protest against the arrest of about 400 foreign nationals

Member sof Section27 were joined by Corruption Watch, the Treatment Action Campaign, the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants South Africa (CoRMSA), Doctors Without Borders/MSF South Africa, the African Diaspora Forum and Equal Education at Johannesburg Police Station yesterday protesting against the arrest of 400 foreign nationals. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

Members of Section27 were joined by Corruption Watch, the Treatment Action Campaign, the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants South Africa (CoRMSA), Doctors Without Borders/MSF South Africa, the African Diaspora Forum and Equal Education at Johannesburg Police Station protesting against the arrest of 400 foreign nationals. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

The Coalition of People’s march against xenophobia gathered outside Johannesburg central police station yesterday, protesting against the arrest of more than 400 foreign nationals including 20 women and children under six years of age.

African Diaspora Forum Vice Chairperson Jean-Pierre Lukamba said the police went into buildings throughout the Johannesburg CBD, including the Methodist Church, on Friday at 2am and arrested about 400 people.

Lukhamba said they are not protesting to say the police should not do their job but “people are not illegal, it is the system that does not allow them to have papers, people do not get help when they go to home affairs and the police should keep that in mind.”

Representative of the Nine+ unions Stephen Faulkhel said the manner in which the police arrested people was “inappropriate and disturbing”. There were two South African women who were also arrested and had to plead to go take their identity books. “People were dragged into police’s cars, separated from their papers and detained without charge,” he said.

Faulkhel further said this is institutionalised xenophobia because government believes that when police arrest foreign nationals there will be less crime, “Instead of using 200 police to harass children sleeping, the police should deal with crime happening in communities.”

The arrests of foreign nationals started last week. A member of Sonke Gender Justice, Vital Kabamba said a mother of a four months old baby was detained at Lanesia police station and the baby could not be breastfed.

Approximately one thousand foreign nationals were reportedly arrested through Operation Fiyela, which is created with the aim of cleaning up the streets of criminal elements and keep communities safe across the country.

KFC Braamfontein in chicken scandal

Local Braamfontein takeaway, KFC, came under fire today as photographs taken by a Wits student appear to show employees washing raw chicken on the ground.

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KFC employees are pictured washing raw chicken pieces on the floor outside the store in Braamfontein. Photo: Wits Vuvuzela.

Braamfontein KFC employees were photographed washing chicken on the floor in the backyard of the store yesterday.

A Wits University student, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she took pictures of the incident from a student residence adjacent to the KFC on the corner of Biccard and De Korte streets in Braamfontein.

The student told Wits Vuvuzela that she saw two people dressed in red and navy blue washing chicken on the floor using a hose pipe.

“We share the same backyard with KFC, so that was how I saw them, I am certain that it was KFC,” she said.

Wits Vuvuzela took a picture of the same backyward where two KFC workers were photographed allegedly washing raw chicken on the ground. Photo: Sinikiwe Mqadi.

Wits Vuvuzela took a picture of the same backyward where two KFC workers were photographed allegedly washing raw chicken on the ground. Photo: Sinikiwe Mqadi.

@KFCSA released a tweet saying they are aware of the incident and they are currently investigating the matter.

Wits Vuvuzela visited the store earlier today and found the doors closed. A notice read: “Dear customers, good day, the store is currently closed until further notice. From management”.  People were observed inside the closed shop, some busy cleaning.

Doug Smart, KFC Africa MD, speaking to PowerFM a short while ago, said, “We’ve confirmed that that product was never going to be served”.

 

 

 

 

President honours two Witsies

Photo: Tendai Dube

Photo: Tendai Dube

A Wits professor of rock art and an activist for people with disabilities are amongst 32 people due to receive the Order of the Baobab from President Jacob Zuma at a national orders event.

“I hope some of that comes to Wits as well because the work that led to the award is the work done by Wits people,”

Professor James Lewis-Williams will receive the Baobab Order of Gold for his exceptional and distinguished contribution to the field of archaeology. Lewis-Williams said it was “a surprise and an honour” to get the award.

“I hope some of that comes to Wits as well because the work that led to the award is the work done by Wits people,” Lewis-Williams said.

On the presidency’s website it says his research on the rock art of the ancient people of southern Africa has contributed invaluable knowledge about their lives and times.

Lewis-Williams joined Wits in 1978 and, according to the Wits archives, has been primarily responsible for elevating a traditionally descriptive and marginalised area of research, rock art studies, to a leading area of study within archaeology.

SABC producer and Wits student, Douglas Anderson, will be honoured with the Baobab Order of Silver for his excellent contribution to the upliftment of the lives of children and people with disabilities.

“I am just a regular Joe, wanting to make a difference in the world, and to be recognised at the highest for this is humbling,”

Anderson is doing his honours at the Wits school of journalism.  Doctors said he had a two percent chance of survival at birth and would have no quality of life.  Having had a disability encouraged him to help Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) focusing on people with disabilities.

When he had the opportunity to present his shows on Radio 2000 from 2007-2012, he paid particular attention to promoting the rights of people with disabilities, highlighting challenges faced by people with disabilities. In 2012 he started fulfilling the role of the senior content producer, making sure that disability content is featured in various shows on Radio 2000.

Anderson said doctors were wrong because he had been “incredibly blessed” on his journey and chose to give back. “I am just a regular Joe, wanting to make a difference in the world, and to be recognised at the highest for this is humbling,” he said.

The national orders are the highest honour that South Africa bestows on citizens and foreign nationals for their contribution to the advancement of the country. The Order of the Baobab recognises South African citizens who have contributed to community service, business and economy, science, medicine and technological innovation.

Other orders include Order of Mendi for Bravery, Order of Ikhamanga, Order of Luthuli and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo.

The National Orders ceremony was meant to be on the 27th of April, South Africa’s Freedom Day. The presidency postponed the event, it said, to mourn the deaths of seven people that were killed during violent attacks on foreign nationals last month.

 

 

Electrical workers seeking support from students

WORKERS AID: MJL Electrical workers outside the Great Hall before they got in to the Vice Chancellor’s Town Hall meeting last month. Photo: Sibongile Machika

WORKERS AID: MJL Electrical workers outside the Great Hall before they got in to
the Vice Chancellor’s Town Hall meeting last month. Photo: Sibongile Machika

ELECTRICIANS employed at Wits by MJL Electrical have asked students to join them in solidarity, to pressure Wits management to assist them in finding a solution to problems with their working conditions.

Earlier this year workers complained to the Wits Legal Office that they were poorly paid and accused MJL Electrical owner George Cresswold of deducting money from their salaries for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and pensions but not paying into those funds.

The workers had tried to get help from their union, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) without success.

“Numsa does not give us enough support and that is why we need students to help us, we are just electricians, we do not know the law and that makes it easy for Wits to take advantage of us,” said one of the workers, Richard Ndebele.

The workers have not been given assignments since March, nor have they received a letter that they no longer have jobs. “We cannot even claim from UIF because our employer was not paying,” said Ndebele.

“What criteria are you using to hire contractors at Wits? We are questioning because they are not complying with labour laws, they are not paying tax, pension fund and UIF.”

MJL Electrical is a contractor of Wits University and its employees are outsourced workers and not directly employed by the university.

Ndebele said the university promised to work together with the electricians to find a solution, but have not taken any legal actions against Cresswold. “When we demanded answers from George, the uni

versity promised that they will make sure our jobs are safe, now they say this issue does not concern them.”

In their recent letter to Wits community, MJL Electrical workers accuse Wits of failing to insist on fair and legal labour practices by the contractors they hire, “What criteria are you using to hire contractors at Wits? We are questioning because they are not complying with labour laws, they are not paying tax, pension fund and UIF.”

Last month, during the Town Hall meeting, MJL Electrical workers walked into the auditorium and stood at the front of the stage for the duration of the meeting, to protest their plight.

Vice Chancellor Adam Habib said the issue of the MJL workers was not the university’s responsibility, as any attempt to guarantee the jobs of employees of outsourced service providers would set a precedent for workers from other service providers.

 

 

The life and times of Dlamini

Mcebo Dlamini is not new to controversy. Wits Vuvuzela takes a look at some of the key moments leading up to his dismissal as SRC president this week. 

SRC president, Mcebo Dlamini, on Wits Campus outside the Great Hall. Photos: Stock Images

SRC president, Mcebo Dlamini, on Wits Campus outside the Great Hall. Photos: Stock Images

November 2013 – Elected Chair of the Junction Residence Committee

Mcebo Dlamini is elected chair of the Junction Residence Committee, and soon becomes known as a charismatic speaker with a growing following.

April 2014 – Claims to be a Sisulu as well as a genius who is studying multiple courses at Wits.

On his Facebook page at the time, ‘Mcebo Sisulu’ said he was simultaneously pursuing two degrees at Wits – an undergraduate degree in Politics (third year) and an honours degree in Mathematical Statistics and claimed to have completed two previous degrees – one in Actuarial Science and another in Nuclear Physics.

Dlamini also claims to be the grandchild of struggle stalwarts Walter and Albertina Sisulu during an interview on the day of the national elections. Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela Dlamini recounts memories of a childhood with the Sisulu’s in their Orlando West home – a house he remembers as a refuge for the children of comrades in exile, political prisoners and fugitives. He gave a similar interview to campus radio station VowFM the previous year.

June 2014 – Sisulu claims debunked

Wits Vuvuzela reporters interviews Max Sisulu to corroborate Dlamini’s claims. Sisulu says that Dlamini’s claim to be a relative is false and appears to have been invented. Initially Dlamini denies
that he made up a connection to the Sisulu family. A few days later, he meets with Wits Vuvuzela and he admits that his name is, in fact, Mcebo Freedom Dlamini, and that he has no familial relation to the Sisulu family.

November 1, 2014 – Dlamini is elected as President of the SRC and assumes his office.

Running of on Progressive Youth Alliance ticket, Dlamini becomes the President of the Wits SRC.

February 2015, Dlamini faces charge of assault and of insulting a senior member of staff and is found guilty of misconduct.

Details of the assault incident have not been disclosed but appear to have happened long before Dlamini was elected as SRC president. The charge of insulting senior staff members stem from an email sent to the head of Residence Life, Rob Sharman. The two charges are combined into a single charge presented at a disciplinary hearing on February 27, 2015. Dlamini is found guilty of misconduct, given a suspended sentence of expulsion and subsequently suspended as SRC president pending an appeal.

March 2015 – Dlamini appeals the decisions against him

Dlamini appeals the decision of expulsion and asks vice chancellor, Professor Adam Habib to defer his standing down from the SRC, pending the outcome of a review of the disciplinary panel’s decision.  Habib agrees, provided that the review is completed within 14 days.

Dlamini fails to submit the relevant documentation to the Legal Office in time. Meaning that no review can occur during the time frame of the grace-period

April 2015 – Dlamini ignites a social media frenzy over Adolf Hitler comments.

On April 25, Dlamini posts the comment “I love Adolf Hitler” in a graphic comparing modern Israel to Nazi Germany on his Facebook account. In the same comment thread, Dlamini wrote; “In every white person there is an element of Adolf Hitler”.

The Vice Chancellor issues a statement condemning the Adolf Hitler’s comments by Dlamini. In the statement Habib mentions that he is referring “Mcebo Dlamini for investigation to see whether disciplinary charges should be brought against him in this regard”.

May 2014 – Removed from his position as SRC President

On May 4, Habib announces that SRC President Mcebo Dlamini had been removed from office with immediate effect. Habib explains that his decision is not based on Dlamini’s Facebook comments in which he declares his love for Hitler’s organisational skills. Instead, the decision was based on the charges that were laid against the SRC President in February and for which he was found guilty by a Student Disciplinary Committee.

 

 

International students claim unfair treatment

Some international students at Wits University in Johannesburg claim they are unfairly discriminated against by the institution. 

A group of international students at Wits University have claimed unfair treatment at the hands of the institution’s bureacracy but this is not the case according to international students office manager Gita Patel.

Patel denied claims made by the students that the university discriminates against non-South African students. According to the students, they are forced to pay 75% of their fees upfront and are charged an application fee that is seven times more than that for South African students.

Patel said there are consequences for the university when international students deregister and decide to go back to their home countries. “It is difficult for the university to get that money back.”

“I doubt that the university will review their plan because collecting the balance of the 25% has been difficult as well,” Patel said.

Zimbabwean Students Society Chairperson Tanshinga Sakwiya said the international students office is making an invalid excuse. “How many students register a year? Who would use their money to come to South Africa and then decide to leave without finishing their degree?” Sakwiya asked.

Sakwiya said there are lots of processes followed by international students which include providing evidence that they can afford to pay their fees. “The international students office does not make sense, other South African universities like University of Pretoria and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University are doing away with the upfront fee business, why Wits can’t do the same thing,” he said.

The Wits SRC (Students Representative Council) has undertaken to draft a memorandum to send to Vice Chancellor Professor Adam Habib which details the grievances of the international students.

Education students sell snacks for transport money

HAWKERS: Thabang Pkgope and Leepile Mompe, fourth year BEd students selling snacks to other students. Photo: Sinikiwe Mqadi

HAWKERS: From left, Thabang Pkgope and Leepile Mompe, fourth year BEd students selling snacks to other students. Photo: Sinikiwe Mqadi

 

Students on the Wits Education campus are selling snacks on campus to raise transport money and improve their entrepreneurship skills.

Thabang Pkgope and Leepile Mompe, both fourth year BEd students, have a table at Bohlaling Block on the Education campus where they sell cheap snacks to other students.

Pkgope said their business is getting support both from students and lecturers, “but I will not mention names”, he says.

They use their profits to cover some of their expenses, including transport.

“Through this business I now afford taxis to come to school,” said Pkgope.

One of their customers, third-year BEd student Jonas Manganye, said they support Pkgope and Mompe’s business because it is affordable compared to other shops and restaurants on campus.

Beverly Blake, a Business Studies lecturer, said she is happy that students are building their entrepreneurship skills “as long as it does not affect their academics”.

Pkgope said he hopes the university will help them get a proper place to expand their business and sell more things like sandwiches and vetkoeks.

People of Jozi unite against Xenophobia

WE ARE AFRICANS:The Human Rights Commission at the People's March in Pieter Roos Park. Photo: Zimasa Mpemnyama

WE ARE AFRICANS: The Human Rights Commission at the People’s March in Pieter Roos Park. Photo: Zimasa Mpemnyama

Thousands of people embraced unity by joining the People’s March to denounce and confront xenophobia yesterday.

Marchers started at Pieter Roos Park in Parktown, moved through parts of the Johannesburg CBD and ended at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown.

On the way people were singing liberation songs and carrying placards with slogans such as “South Africa belongs to all who live in it”, “I found home”, “Fight Xenophobia, fight racism”.

Zwelinzima Vavi said it was important that people were sending out the message that poverty and unemployment are the enemies, not foreign nationals; “This means victory against xenophobia, uniting our people against their real enemy [unemployment] which is not caused by our brothers and sisters [foreign nationals].”

African Diaspora Forum Vice Chairperson Jean-Pierre Lukamba said the purpose of the march was to send a message to Africans and the world that not all South Africans are xenophobic; “Right now in Africa many people think South Africans are xenophobic, we are sending a message to the continent that not all are xenophobic and to set an example to perpetrators that they should stop what they are doing.”

In Johannesburg CBD, foreign nationals who did not participate in the march were standing on road pavements, waving and chanting with the marchers, “We want peace!”

Max Sisulu remembered how other African countries supported South Africa during the struggle,   “Africans who are staying in our country deserve our support; we were in their countries during the struggle, they gave us home and all the support we needed.”

The march was organised by a coalition of African Diaspora Forum, Gauteng Office of the Premier, City of Johannesburg and major social movements such as Treatment Action Campaign, Equal Education, as well as organisations such as Section 27, Corruption Watch and Doctors Without Boarders.

New CV verification system launched

graduation-309661_640The Independent Institute of Education (IIE) launched an electronic verification system for students to provide their accreditation status and curriculum details, last Tuesday.

The new system is intended to allow prospective employers access to verified CV (curriculum vitae) information and applies to graduates of the Independent Institute of Education who had studied at Varsity College, Rosebank College, or Vega Design School Southern Africa campuses.

Director of the IIE Dr Felicity Coughlan said the system is in response to the difficulty of evaluating credentials. “We are cutting time out of the verification  process and given the high levels of qualification fraud along with steep competition for jobs and postgraduate places this system gives their CV an “edge of simplicity and validity.”

Each graduate will be given a unique URL (web address) to share with anyone who wants to see their qualification details, including SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) identification number, curriculum credit values and NQF (National Qualifications Framework) levels.

The system allows students access to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook or any other social media and any additional information they would like to show anyone viewing their profile.

“This enables our students to simply and effectively showcase their qualifications and other achievements in a way that employers and graduate institutions can trust.  A “one stop shop” if you like for presenting yourself to people who need to make decisions about you,” said Coughlan.

 

 

 

South African soccer star loses cancer battle

Former Bafana Bafana and Kaizer Chiefs midfielder John “Shoes” Moshoeu, 49, died yesterday after a prolonged battle with stomach cancer.

His agent Glyn Binkin broke the news on Twitter.

Moshoeu was one of the top players during Bafana Bafana’s triumphant Africa Cup of Nations in 1996. He was capped 73 times for South Africa and scored eight times.

The South African Sports Minister, Fikile Mbalula passed condolonces to Moshoeu’s family and football fraternity.

  He began his career in Diepkloof with local football club Blue Whales before joining Kaizer Chiefs. He was one of Kaizer Chiefs’ most valuable players from 1988 to 1993.

In May 2014, Moshoeu hung up his boots after spending several seasons with third-tier side Alexandra United. South African soccer stars and fans have expressed their grief on twitter.

LGBT students get negative responses from fellow Witsies

It appears that anti-homophobia organisation Activate’s goal of ending prejudice around sexual and gender identity among Witsies is going to be a challenging one.

On Friday, Activate members staffing information stands on campus were the target of insults: “These guys were passing by and they said ‘Eish these lesbians.  Do not worry we will fuck you anyway’,” said Felicia Thobejane, 2nd  year Architecture.

Activate Wits told Wits Vuvuzela that, while most Wits students do not discriminate against other students with regard to their gender or sexual identities, there are still challenges in residences.  Some people report hostility from other students.

“Some students say they get to the bathrooms, and are looked at as taboo,” said Activate spokesperson Lesedi Sithole.

Activate launched its first ‘Monthly Pride’ event last week, with tables offering information on differently gendered identities. It is a week-long event, dedicated to educating the Wits community about LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual) students as well as those who  identify as intersex, asexual, queer and other sexual and gender identities as part of Activate’s mission to make the Wits campus a safe and welcoming place for all, regardless of their identity.

Outside the Umthombo building, students supporting the campaign carried placards written in bold letters with slogans such as: “I speak out against homophobia and transphobia”, “Some people are queer.  Get over it!” and “I am straight but not narrow”.

Many students passed by the information tables, but few stopped to talk.

“The response has been great from the majority of students but some guys just said, ‘Oh ezi zitabane [these mofies]’,” recounted Muneiwa Phodzo, 3rd year Biomedical Engineering.

“Our aim is to inform students on campus. People are still scared and uncomfortable to engage in conversations concerning LGBT,” said Sithole.

At an event last year, Activate found some of their informational posters in bins. “Even during the Pride Week, you could see that people come to us because they want our t-shirts instead of engaging with the topics,” Sithole said.

Activate Wits is a diverse student society with about 50 members, dedicated to raising awareness around LGBT issues, and protecting the rights of the differently gendered community at Wits. It works in partnership with the Transformation and Employment Equity Office, Wits Pride, Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action (GALA) and WHAM, a mixed-gender, queer-friendly rugby club.