We did not pay Twitter influencers – PYA

THE Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) and African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) have denied allegations that they paid social media personalities to influence the 2018 Student Representative Council (SRC) elections.
The allegations emerged in an amaBhungane report published on Friday, March 1, which claimed that social media personalities, paid to tweet promotional content and known as ‘influencers’, may have been employed to sway elections in the ANC’s favour.

The report listed last year’s Wits SRC elections as a possible case. The 2018 elections resulted in the PYA winning 12 out of the 13 SRC seats.

The report listed several social media influencers including Wits alumnus Zukhanye Ncapayi, a YouTube and Twitter personality with more than 19 000 followers.

Ncapayi’s Twitter account indicates that on October 16, 2018, she tweeted in support of the PYA and urged her followers to follow suit.  She tweeted that she had voted for the PYA, even though according to her LinkedIn profile she graduated in 2017, making her ineligible to vote in the 2018 SRC elections.

Zukhanye Ncapayi tweeted on October 16, 2018, that she was voting for the Wits PYA in the 2018 SRC elections.                        Photo: Naledi Mashishi

A screenshot emerged on social media during the 2018 SRC campaign of what appeared to be a post by well-known social media influencer, and Ncapayi’s boyfriend and business partner, Karabo Motsoane, in a Wits campaign WhatsApp group: “Afternoon guys. So as some of you might know, SRC elections are underway. And PYA are asking for us to. Promote gor the for 3 days. They’re paying R100 a day.”

The Wits PYA queried the authenticity of the WhatsApp screenshot and the time and tweeted a statement that read: “We would like to clarify that the below screenshot and alleged campaign/WhatsApp group have not been commissioned, endorsed or agreed to by the PYA.”

SRC deputy-president Nkateko Muloiwa said it would have been impossible for the Wits PYA to have paid any social media influencer to tweet in support of the party.

“We cannot get access to cash, as everything has to be approved by the internal financial structures of the university.

“We never paid anyone, and anyone who says otherwise is living in a fool’s paradise,” he told Wits Vuvuzela.

Final-year BA student and Wits EFF member, Duma Nkabinde, said that he found claims that there were paid influencers believable.

“I’m convinced that, yes, the PYA uses characters who seem apolitical on their social networks but have a large following, to influence young people in spaces of higher learning,” he told Wits Vuvuzela.

FEATURED IMAGE: Wits PYA members who were voted onto the SRC in the 2018 elections have denied that they paid social media influencers to swing votes in their favor.
Photo: Provided


Who is SAUS and what you need to know about them

With all the excitement around #FeesMustFallReloaded, there’s one name that seems to be at the center of it all: The South African Union of Students (SAUS), but who are they?

SAUS is a student union that is elected by SRC’s from universities across the country and therefore represent all Student Representative Councils in the country.

They have been speaking for students at the Fees Commision’s public hearings which began last week and on Sunday SAUS released a statement calling for mass meetings across universities on the issue of fee increments.

According to the SAUS Secretary General Sthembiso Ka-Ndlovu the union was established at Stellenbosch University in 2006, it’s main purpose was so that students had a single representative body in the higher education sector.

They union is said to be a national and non-partisan umbrella body of student representation in the country.

However people on social media have been questioning the legitimacy of SAUS and the fact that it is mostly comprised of Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) members, an organisation made up of mostly ANC-affiliated youth organisations.

Ka-Ndlovu says there is a heavy PYA presence in SAUS because SRC’s elect the members and “of the 25 Universities about 19 of them are SASCO-led.”

Who is in the executive?

President: Avela Mjajubala – Durban University of Technology

Deputy President: Moza Motlalepula – North West University

Secretary General: Sthembiso Ka-Nkosi – Tshwane University of Technology

Deputy Secretary General: Fasiha Hassan – Wits University

Treasurer: Misheck Mugabe – Fort Hare University.

People who can be nominated to represent students in SAUS have to have been part of the SRC in the last two years prior to being elected.

The union currently has 15 members.

Related stories:

Wits Vuvuzela: SAUS to begin mobilising from Monday as fee increase looms, August 14, 2016

Wits Vuvuzela: Treasury says no money to fund zero percent fee increase, August 14, 2016