Commemorating Ashraf

Ashraf Lodewyk, a first team player and an active member of the Wits Basketball Club died in a car accident eight years ago.

WITS Sport will be hosting the 8th annual Ashraf Memorial Basketball Tournament this week to remember the late psychology student.

A total of 31 teams will compete in the 2012 edition. There are 21 registered men’s teams and 10 women’s teams. Seventy-one matches will be played during the four day tournament and teams from Limpopo, Cape Town and Kwazulu Natal will be participating.

The tournament will take place at Hall 29 on west campus from the 26th to the 29th of April, beginning at 9am each day.

Chief organiser Manyani Maseko said the tournament also aimed to promote good administration of basketball in the country.

“During the time Ashraf was administrator, the Wits Basketball club was well supported on campus. The club also became more recognised within the Gauteng region. Ashraf was a charismatic, committed and loyal individual, who gained much respect in the Wits basketball community,” she said.

The top men’s and women’s teams will be awarded floating trophies, while the runners-up will be given medals.
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Touching hearts through entertainment

Wits students and invited artists showcased their musical and poetic talents last Saturday night, in an effort to raise money for charity.

Jubilee Residence held its annual talent show, themed “Touching hearts through entertainment”. The event was organised to raise funds for the Door of Hope and Christ Church Christian Care Centre in Berea. Jubilee recently took responsibility for these two homes.

Bands including Trace of Art from Daveyton and Two Coffees and One Milk entertained the audience. The crowd was also given a chance to participate through song, dance and poetry during the open mic session which took place in the last hour of the show.

Opera group Cantores Magna Ensemble stole the show with their unique genre of music. They were the only opera music group present.

The MC for the evening was the sharply-dressed Lazola Cutalele. He performed a rap freestyle that caught the attention of the appreciative audience during the open mic session.

Ernest Oppenhiemer Residence won the raffle ticket draw, taking home a R300 dinner voucher for two, at Rococo in Sandton.

Chief organiser Dikamatso Mabhena thanked the guests for attending and donating to a worthy cause.

“What motivated me to organise the event was the lack of necessities like stationary and tutors to help the kids do their homework in the homes”, she said.

Additional profit was made by selling drinks, snacks and raffle tickets.


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Sunnyside up

17 chefs fired

Seventeen chefs were fired for “gross insubordination” by the Wits caterers last week.

Royal Mnandi Food Service Solutions, who serve all the Wits dining halls, issued dismissal letters during the university break, after holding two hearings. Some of the dismissed workers have served the company for as long as ten years.

The union representing the cooks, Hospitality, Industrial, Commercial Rand Workers’ Union, did not manage to convince company management the workers were innocent.

The cooks refused to work at the dining halls they were assigned to because they claimed management made decisions without consulting them. They claimed larger dining halls involved more work and therefore warranted higher pay, particularly for the longer-serving workers

Management was not prepared to increase the pay of the cooks who were being transferred to the Main Dining Hall in the Matrix, and to the Johannesburg College of Education. The company won the tender to provide food in these venues late last year.

“We workers have children to feed, only to get fired after helping the company get the tender for the Main dining hall and JCE from Wits,” said shop steward Klaas Baard.

The workers also claim that, during their suspension, the company was already interviewing potential candidates to fill their positions.

The union met with Royal Mnandi management a week before the suspension, after the workers had complained of being moved without their consent.

One of the workers, Nana Mokgosi, said Royal Mnandi agreed to stop assigning workers to different dining halls without consultation. However, she claimed management then broke the agreement and, on March 7, served suspension letters to workers who refused to be transferred.

“When staff tried setting up a meeting with management, they kept postponing it. We were just fighting for what was right, nothing criminal.”

 Workers have approached the Law Clinic for legal advice and are still waiting for a response.

Wits Employee Relations Manager Elaine Milton said the department did not have any knowledge of workers being dismissed at Royal Mnandi. “We are not responsible in the management of outsourced workers. Our job is to negotiate tenders and evaluate the company’s policies and contracts only.”

However, she said her department had received reports of outsourced workers being “abused and discriminated against” by different companies. Two attorneys, Thandi Orleyn and Thembeka Ngwitabi were appointed in March to conduct a fact-finding investigation into the working conditions of outsourced workers.

Vuvuzela Royal Mnandi were not prepared to comment, when approached by Vuvuzela.


Published in Vuvuzela Print Edition, 13 April 2012

Blind student makes Wits history

For the first time in the university’s 90-year history, a disabled Wits student has been awarded a sports bursary.

Sisanda Msekele was recognized for being a member of the SA adaptive rowing team.

The 3rd year psychology student who started rowing a year ago said: “Owing to my blindness it was very difficult to master the technique of rowing. It’s the hardest thing I have done in my life.”

However dedication, good time management and her supportive coach Marco Baleone had been the recipe to her success.

She received the award at the Wits Sport Council’s annual Sport Bursary and Scholarship Awards ceremony. The hour-long ceremony was held at Sturrock Park last Thursday, 22 March 2012.

“Sisanda is a very hardworking young lady and we wish her all the best for the year 2012,” said Onkabetse Matlhaga, communications officer for Wits Sport.

In April she will be flying to Belgrade with her team for the 2012 London Olympics qualifiers.

Size Vardhan, who recently succeeded John Baxter as head of Wits Sport, also gave blue ties to individuals who strive for the success of sport at the university. The honorees were Baxter, Prof Ronnie Schloss, Prof Bruce Murray, Hloni Phutsoane and Rob Sharman.

Vardhan thanked Murray, Sharman, Croxley, ABSA and the Sky Foundation for sponsoring the bursaries and scholarships.