UJ says no to EFF

 

EFF founding members Julius Malema and businessman  Kenny Kunene march through the streets of Soweto. Photo: Thuletho Zwane

EFF founding members Julius Malema and businessman Kenny Kunene march through the streets of Soweto. Photo: Thuletho Zwane

RAY MAHLAKA and THULETHO ZWANE

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) supporters were barred from entering the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Doorfontein Campus on Friday.

“Luthuli House was sabotaging us,” said EFF municipal co-ordinator and former ANC youth league secretary Walter Mokorodi. He said  UJ’s decision to bar them from entry was politically motivated.

“We were given permission to be at UJ, but were refused entry. The ANC sent UJ students messages not to attend [the event]. We ripped up ANC t-shirts,” said Mokorodi.

EFF released a statement “condemning” UJ’s decision to close the campus to EFF’s event and Julius Malema, their commander-in-chief.

However EFF still maintains proper procedures were followed to secure a venue for Malema’s speech.

“EFF condemns the decision to close the university campus against the EFF event despite the fact that permission for the event was granted,”said EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

Ndlozi said “UJ has chosen a political side, fallen prey to the cheap tricks of the ruling party which use public institutions like the police, NPA [National Prosecution Authority], SABC…”

UJ media relations coordinator Herman Esterhuizen said “the university didn’t cancel the event. There was no application. The submission was not in the time period of the university”.

Esterhuizen said the UJ process for booking or hiring a venue should happen eight-weeks prior to event, and said  the university did not “cancel the event”.

An EFF delegate handed Wits Vuvuzela the minutes of a meeting where booking of the  venue was discussed. The document, with a UJ letterhead, which was not confirmed by UJ, shows that Mayibuye Anarchist Society requested to book room 2212 on July 2 to use on July 18. The minutes show the venue bookings were approved by the UJ bookings and hiring committee.

UJ Venue bookings and hiring commitee minutes.

UJ venue bookings and hiring committee minutes showing a late venue application. Image: Provided.

Ndlozi said in a statement: “Economic Freedom Fighters were held at ransom because the toothless lapdogs of the African National Congress vowed that the EFF will not enter University of Johannesburg.”

EFF Mpumalanga media liaison officer Mpumelelo Masina said “people can cast out the fact we are disgruntled people who just want to sing and dance, we have intellectuals.”

Masina said EFF will be launching in Marikana on August 17 , a day after the first anniversary of the Marikana Massacre where  34 miners were killed.

 

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Wits accused 11 complain VC is “player and referee”

THE ELEVEN charged Wits students have raised concerns about the chairperson presiding over their disciplinary hearing.

Advocate Jennifer Woodward was appointed by Vice Chancellor Adam Habib.

“The chairperson was appointed by the same vice chancellor who is prosecuting us,” said SRC secretary Tasneem Essop.

“The vice chancellor is a player and a referee. It doesn’t make sense. How can you charge students then decide who the judge is,” said SRC international student affairs officer Pearl Pillay.

Habib defended the appointment of Woodward and called her a “senior and well-respected” advocate. He said the Wits Legal Office recommended the appointment of an independent person which was supported by management.

He said the recommendation was made because of the case’s “potential reputational risks and the need to ensure a fair, transparent process.”

Habib said the committee holding the hearing was independent and its decision could be reviewed and appealed by a committee appointed by University Council.

The students were charged with contravening the university’s code of conduct after they disrupted a concert by an Israeli pianist during a protest for Israel Apartheid Week in March.

The 11 charged students have resigned to losing the case. They said the hearing process was biased and fraught with double standards and inconsistencies.

SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa said: “The judge was frustrated and disallowed our lawyer from getting instruction from us. Our lawyer was scolded and shouted at but when the same behaviour was showed by the prosecutor, it was ok.”

Essop told Wits Vuvuzela the venue of the disciplinary hearing was moved without the charged 11 students’ knowledge. She said they were scolded by Woodward when they arrived late at the new venue and were not allowed to explain why they were late.

Habib confirmed the inquiry venue was changed but said the SRC’s legal representative team was made aware of the change.

Essop and Pillay said the judge was “extremely patronising” and treated the charged 11 students “like children”.

“We got a gag order for tweeting. The university threatened to charge us with more misconduct charges. What is the university scared of?” said Essop.

Pillay said the charged students were ordered not to tweet during the trial after Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Yunus Ballim was offended by something he saw on twitter.

“The next day, the prosecutor printed 68 pages of our tweets. The judge asked us not to tweet. We wanted the media to know,” said Pillay.

Habib told Wits Vuvuzela Woodward decided a “trial by media” was not best for the circumstances “given the manifold and diverse interests in the case”.

He said while the media wasn’t allowed to attend the inquiry, “there were no objections should the student wish to comment to the media outside.”

SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa disputes this and said the accused students wanted the media to be present.

“We made calls for the media to be there and for the trial to be public. The university and the disciplinary hearing presiding officer [Woodward] has rejected our calls.”

Mgludlwa said they [the students] haven’t laid a formal complaint against the university but “we might be writing a letter of complaint to the vice chancellor” depending on what their lawyer advises.

The trial of the 11 Wits students will resume August 13.

Related articles

Wits Vuvuzela. Wits 11 cry foul July 19, 2013

Wits Vuvuzela. Israel vs SRC May 31, 2013

 

Broke but we’re looking good

UNIVERSITY students, especially women between 18 and 24, are heavily in debt, spending their money on alcohol, entertainment and clothes, according to a new study.

The study by Student Village, the Student Spending Report 2013, reported tertiary students spent their money on a wide array of expenses including rent, food, alcohol and—especially—clothing.

Clothing spending was the reason the most afflicted group, young women, were so heavily in debt.

Expenses and Debt through student eyes

“I was in debt for a while. I opened an Edgars account when I was in Grahamstown. I took a lot of clothing but paid little towards my account,” said Rhodes University graduate Doreen Radebe.

Radebe said it was easy for her to get an Edgars clothing account because “you just get called and get told to collect your card”.

She said she had to ask her mom to help pay off the account and close it. The report said black students spend most of their money on clothing while white students spend their money on alcohol and entertainment.

Alcohol, illicit drugs and cellphones were rated highest on student expense list.

Katie Wheeler 2nd year English said: “Most of my friends get their allowance from their parents. They spend their money on clothing, a lot of alcohol and petrol because they all have cars.”

The spending report showed students spend R3 510 per month.

It said 78% of students surveyed get this money from their parents and family. Bursaries account for 18% of income and 24% comes from part-time work.

Thato Maraisane, 1st year Music, said she knew guys who buy groceries in bulk, pooling their funds together, to save money.

“They bulk buy cereal, milk, bread and chips and then spend the rest of their money on alcohol and entertainment,” she said.

Gender and race specific spending

Student Village CEO Ronen Aires told Fin24 he found it interesting that students from different ethnic backgrounds spent money differently.

He said the report found black students spent more money on cosmetics, take-aways, tuition and gadgets while white students spent their money on entertainment, groceries, alcohol and travel.

The report revealed female students spend more than males.

In addition to clothing, female students spent more on contraceptives and music.

In contrast, male students spent more to get blinged up with jewellery and paid to have their laundry done.

Just EFF’ing around?

By THULETHO ZWANE and RAY MAHLAKA

IN HIS first print interview, newly appointed  Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi has defended the new movement’s founding members from accusations of being “tenderpreneurs” and “dodgy characters”.

Ndlozi, a politics PhD candidate, has defended his new organisation’s leadership against the criticism laid by his former comrades in the Wits ANC Youth League (ANCYL).

Wits SRC vice president Tokelo Nhlapo accused EFF members of having wrongly benefitted from tenders.

“The discomfort that we have is the characters in the EFF where they have benefitted from these things [tenders].”

Ndlozi defended EFF and said the new movement wants the government tendering system to be stopped.

He admits that while EFF founding member Julius Malema was a “tenderpreneur”, Malema has now realised the flaws in the government tender process and wants to end it.

SRC treasurer Justice Nkomo took a swipe at the founding members of EFF, including Malema and businessman Kenny Kunene. He called EFF a “convenience of stomach empowerment for individuals who are politically disgruntled”.

“I don’t take it [EFF] seriously, it’s not a threat to the ANC and outside Wits it’s not a threat to the PYA [Progressive Youth Alliance]” said Nkomo.

Nkomo also affirmed that the South African Students Congress (Sasco) will continue to support the ANC.

Nhlapo said there were no policy differences between the EFF and ANCYL and called the new organisation’s leaders “dodgy”.

“There is no difference between the ANCYL and EFF, the only contradiction is the EFF is spearheaded by dodgy characters. Julius was expelled from the ANCYL. Floyd [Shivambu] was expelled from the ANCYL,” Nhlapo said.

Ndlozi said the allegations that Malema is corrupt are unfounded: “Julius [Malema] is facing corruption charges. He is facing those charges in court, he’s not running away.”

“Julius was never in government. Malema has not had undue influence. The prosecutor needs to prove that,” said Ndlozi.

Malema, founding member of EFF, owes the SA Revenue Service R16-million for unpaid taxes.

[pullquote]“I believe Wits students are of the highest intellect in political analysis. I have faith in Wits students, they are intelligent and they are going to see through them.” [/pullquote]

The public protector, Thuli Madonsela, alleges that Malema made his millions from a fraudulent tender.

Nkomo called EFF a “mickey mouse political party” and said the new movement will not find a place on Wits campus.

“I believe Wits students are of the highest intellect in political analysis. I have faith in Wits students, they are intelligent and they are going to see through them,” said Nkomo.

Ndlozi accused the ANC of “broad churchism” and said people were allowed to join the party who didn’t believe in the principles of the Freedom Charter. This was one of the reasons EFF was formed.

EFF has seven non-negotiable pillars which include the expropriation of land without compensation, the nationalisation of mines and banks, and free education.

“We want to nationalise the mines, we want to nationalise the banks. The banks are enslaving the middle-class through debt. We have to take over the industries and redistribute the land and wealth to all,” said Ndlozi.

Ndlozi said EFF disagrees with the ANC and their alliance partners because of their policies. He said Agang is too dependent on morality and competence. “Agang is based on morals and competence, we offer more than not being corrupt,” said Ndlozi.

The EFF wants a more radical macro-economic framework. He said the Democratic Alliance (DA) is committed to neo-liberalism, commercialisation, privatisation, the flexible labour market and the minimal role of the state.

Wits Vuvuzela asked if EFF will contest the national elections in 2014 but Ndlozi was noncommittal.

“He [Malema] is popular today. Statistical houses show that EFF might win certain provinces. The people say we must run but we must respect internal processes.”

EFF will go to the National Assembly and present their founding manifesto after a conference to be held at the end of this month.

Alternative graduate employment opportunities

Having a university degree does not mean graduates will get a job. Students who don’t qualify for graduate placement programmes are increasingly finding themselves unemployed and unemployable after graduating.

Local employers often say graduates lack the skills and experience required for entry level positions and are usually unwilling to use their resources to train new graduates.

“We don’t believe graduates have all the practical knowledge of the business, they need training,” said Times Media Head of Programme Paddi Clay.

Times Media takes graduates from different faculties. But for those who don’t qualify for the cadet programme, they also offer two-weeks no pay experiential learning. Most students are reluctant to work without pay but the short-term experience would work in their favour on their CVs.

“We try to accommodate many people who apply on a short-term basis or for six months if it is part of their undergrad,” said Clay.

Students who want international work experience and travel but don’t have the financial means to do so should look at agencies such as the Overseas Visitors Club (OVC). OVC targets young graduates and works specifically with young people who find it difficult to get into the working field.

“We offer teaching abroad, au-pairing, hospitality internships and horticulture opportunities abroad,” said OVC consultant Shani Styger. Styger said South African university graduates can teach English in Korea, Thailand and China.

She said there were hospitality internships in Dubai and the U.S “a person with waitressing experience and a qualification can qualify to be an intern and get hands-on training experience.”

Styger said the most popular option is au-pairing because American host families pay for flights and visas. “Students can make a lot of money, however, the experience offered abroad is usually not related to the students’ graduate degrees,” said Styger . She said international work experience was important and employers are more willing to hire graduates that are more open-minded.

Israel vs SRC

The SRC said they weren’t surprised the university was under financial pressure from Israel lobbyists not to drop the charges against 11students charged for disrupting the performance of an Israeli-born pianist.

“[The SRC] suggest our refusal to do so [drop the charges] emanates from the pressure from donors who support Israel. There have indeed been some individuals who have threatened to withdraw their donations,” said Habib and Nongxa on a Business Day article.

SRC secretary Tasneem  Essop said “It is easy to draw a link between the university refusing to drop the charges and the financial threats made from donors who support Israel”. She said the reason the charges were not dropped is because financial and political pressure from Israel lobbyists.

Eleven students, nine of which are SRC members, were charged with possible contravention of university rules after they protested at the performance during Israel Apartheid Week

“11 members of the Wits community allegedly violated university rules, impinged on the rights of others, broke up the concert and in effect violated academic freedom, we acted and subjected them to disciplinary hearings,” said Habib and Nongxa.

 Essop added that a day after the March 12 protest, at about 8.am, Habib and Nongxa released a statement distancing themselves from the student protest.

“They were in New York, they received threats from pro-Israel lobby,” said Essop.

She said the university chose to charge the 11 students but didn’t do anything when they were assaulted by members of security and were sworn at by people attending the Israeli-funded concert.

“We were called monkeys, savages, Muslim agitators. We were even told to ‘go back to the jungle where you belong’ but the university chose to charge the 11 students and did nothing [about the Israeli supporters],” said Essop.

Habib said they have not received any written complaint about the allegation: “If the SRC feels that this has happened, they should lay an official complaint and the matter will be investigated as per due process.”

Habib and Nongxa said Wits was neither a political party or a civil movement. “Wits has not taken a position to boycott Israel,” they said.

Mbuyiseni Ndlovu a PHD politics student who is one of the 11 students charged said the statement was nonsense:  “Israel implements systematic racial discrimination. We can’t be neutral in such a state. Wits took sides during Apartheid. Wits took sides with the Dalai Lama. They can’t claim this neutral nonsense.”

The disciplinary hearing against the 11 charged students has been postponed to July 16.

SLICE OF LIFE: “Poor black kid, we don’t want you”

I attended four different primary schools. My parents were too poor to afford private school education but understood, too well, the limitations of South African Bantu Education.

As a result, they placed me on the waiting list of “posh” (suburban) government schools.
I was rejected based on “lack of capacity” and because I didn’t reside in a “feeder area”.
I started my schooling at a Bantu school, a two-minute walking distance from my house.

My English lessons were limited to “Madam, may I please go out?”, “My name is Thuletho Petunia Zwane, I live in Sebokeng. I have one mother, one father and one brother.”

My maths lessons were not very different. Problem sums were a rumour. Negative numbers did not exist. We were taught that [6-8] was “impossible” instead of negative two!

This is the low quality education still prevalent at many township schools.
In 2011, Rivonia Primary School refused to admit a grade one pupil saying it had no capacity. I am too familiar with the “no capacity” clause.

No capacity means that quality education is denied to poor people. It means the working class will remain working class as social barriers can only be crossed by quality education.

It seems to me it is the job of the middle class to ensure the underclass remains underclass.
Rivonia Primary School is implementing this oppression under the guise of the importance of an independent school governing body.

The Gauteng education department took the school to the Constitutional Court and argued that a state school remained a public resource even if additional funds were raised by parents to build extra classrooms or pay additional teachers.

South African public schools are segregated based purely on geographical locations – this is acceptable discrimination better known as “price discrimination” in academic literature.

You have to live in a rich area (or white area) to attend public schools in that area.

The South African Constitutional Court did not exist in 1992 and the country was not yet a democracy so my parents couldn’t take the “no capacity” claim to court (even if they had the resources to do this).

They tried the honest route and were advised to “enrol your child in a school close to your place of residence”. That loosely translates into: enrol your child into a Bantu school or take her to a private school.
Most black families in pre-1994 South Africa couldn’t spell private school, let alone afford it.

Their options were: A) Take their child to a Bantu school (read – correct district); B) Take their child to a private school (read – sell your house, car, work 2/3 jobs and kill the other child) or C) Fake documents regarding their place of residence so their child can have a fighting chance in this class-orientated world. My parents picked option C.

As a result I’ve made it to university and have the prospect of improving my life as well as that of my parents.

This is why I feel so strongly about the Rivonia primary school case. To me it smacks of elitism.

It is a constitutional matter that should be followed closely. The denial of quality education is an infringement of basic rights.


thuletho@witsvuvuzela.com

Fuelling the price of food

When petrol prices increase,  food prices also increase. Prices at the Matrix, Pig and West campus have increased, making it difficult for students to afford simple meals.

“A fall in petrol price doesn’t mean a fall in food prices. It just means food prices will rise at a slower rate”, said economist Chris Hart on eNCA news

A litre of  95 octane costs R12,47 in Gauteng,  a fall from R13,20; R12,24 for 93, R11,41 for 500ppm diesel and R11,45 for 50ppm diesel.

The sudden reduction of 73cents is a result of the rand dollar exchange rate and the oil price. Last month the rand strengthened (against the US dollar) and the oil price declined, which led to a decrease in the petrol price.

Lebohang Moeletsi, a strategic management student at Unisa, doesn’t think the fall in the petrol price will be significant to consumers: “the decrease in the petrol price will not have a significant impact on administered prices”.

Moeletsi said this was because the recent large increases in the petrol price have already been built into what consumers pay and the “current decrease is negligible in comparison”.

The reduction in the petrol price comes after some steep increases in recent times. Two and a half years ago, a litre of 95 octane petrol cost just R8,32 in Gauteng.

What this means for Witsies is that the decrease in petrol prices is relatively small compared to the increase in the daily spending on food. The fact that the petrol price has declined by 73cents doesn’t necessarily mean we will have more money to spend.

Another worrying factor is that the petrol price is very volatile which means we may see another substantial increase before the end of the year.

Do the youth need another index?

Shaun Vorster, Business Development partner for the Youth Employment Index. Photo: Palesa Radebe

Shaun Vorster, Business Development partner for the Youth Employment Index. Photo: Palesa Radebe

In an attempt to combat youth unemployment, three companies have combined resources and created an online index where corporate businesses can “register and actively contribute to the employment of young South African talent.”

Uwin Iwin, Mazars and Pleiades Media have collectively established a Youth Employment Index (YEI) which is meant to help companies track youth (individuals aged between 16-35) employment.

“The YEI is a platform where corporates can see how they are faring against each other” in terms on youth employment, said Nazreen Pandor, chairperson of the YEI and associate director at Mazars.

She said the YEI will help create healthy competition, with corporates spurring each other to employ young people, or at least provide opportunities for them to contribute to South Africa.

The YEI is a measurement index that tracks youth employed in corporates and measures development opportunities afforded to them.

According to StatsSA, the 2012 third quarter unemployment rate among the 15- to 24-year-old age group is estimated at 48.2%. The aim of YEI is to encourage businesses to prioritise youth employment and development

Kerry Botha, CEO of Pleiades Media in the YEI  said they have always believed in the value of public relations and the powerful role the media had to play in catalysing the necessary shifts in youth employment.

Sarah Botha, daughter of Kerry Botha and account executive of YEI said YEI was established to “make sure people my age and younger are offered the same opportunities.”

The limitations to the YEI are: the index will be a “self-assessment” index meaning companies rate themselves on how well they think they have done and their rating is limited to the “integrity” of the company; the index methodology hasn’t been properly defined and it doesn’t articulate if broad-based-black economic empowerment (government policy) will be considered; no definite corporates were said to have signed up.