Mass meeting mayhem 

Student organizations clash at meeting meant to discuss student accommodation and registration.  

Showing up to a crowded Wits Ampitheatre, students adorned in yellow and red regalia, members representing the EFF Student Command (EFFSC) and Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) joined forces to discuss registration and accommodation issues with new and returning students.  

The Wits Student Representative Council (SRC), made up of majority EFFSC members, and the PYA initially had separate meetings planned but decided to merge their efforts on the evening of February 22, 2024.  

Bukisa Boniswa, SRC president said protest action is on the cards but would need to be “sustainable and directed to the right people”, specifically Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande.  

“Wits University has been having protests since I got here, [every year] we find ourselves in the same predicament. At some point, a level of consciousness needs to come to all of us because we can’t keep on doing the very same thing and expecting different results, that’s the definition of insanity,” said Boniswa. 

Viewing this as a party political jab, Chairperson of the ANCYL, Peterson Radasi, grabbed at the megaphone and began chanting “the SRC must fall!” A scuffle broke out when EFFSC coordinator, Sibusiso Mafolo, grabbed the megaphone from Radasi. Wits campus control officers had to intervene to restore order.  

“The president of the SRC started telling us about Jacob Zuma and Blade Nzimande which we highly disagree with. If we’re saying the doors of higher education must be opened, we all know who is closing them, and that’s the institution,” said ANCYL secretary, Kabelo Phungwayo. 

The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) introduced an accommodation cap in 2023, after discovering price fixing and corruption by university staff in some institutions. The R45 000 cap has left students with fewer affordable options.  

Since the beginning of the 2024 registration period, around 300 students from the Cape Town Peninsula University of Technology struggled to secure accommodation and slept in the university’s sports hall until they were evicted on February 14. Similarly, News24 reported that a group of 30 students from Stellenbosch University have been rendered homeless and sleeping on the university’s squash court and outside the main administration building.

“Wits accommodation prices start from R65 000, the NSFAS cap means that students must pay R20 000 before they register, where would they get that money?” said EFFSC coordinator, Sibusiso Mafolo.  

He added that around 500 individuals lack accommodation while there are approximately 1000 vacant on-campus rooms. “Wits should turn these into hardship accommodations and collaborate with private student accommodations to secure at least 20 beds for NSFAS-defunded students,” said Mafolo. 

Boniswa reassured the students that they were putting pressure on Wits management and that a way forward would be communicated on Monday, February 26, 2024.  

Young Lions oppose mother body 

By: Sfundo Parakozov & Nonhlanhla Mathebula 

The ANC Youth League demanded that the ANC pull out from all coalitions, calling them “anti-democratic”. 

The ANCYL finally held their first national congress after an eight-year hiatus on Saturday, August 5, using their platform to oppose Luthuli House on a range of issues.  

The first leg held between June 30 and July 1, 2023, at the Nasrec Expo Centre was an elective conference, leading to the elections of Collen Malatji as president of the ANCYL, Phumzile Mgcina as deputy president, Mntuwoxolo Ngudle as secretary general and Tsakani Shiviti as deputy secretary general. 

While the second leg at the Johannesburg City Hall focused on policy positions under the themes of social change and economic freedom.  

To hell with Coalitions  

The ANCYL was clear on its anti-coalition stance, urging the mother body to pull out from all coalitions that do not benefit the majority of South Africa.  

During the National Dialogue on Coalition Governments held in Cape Town on Friday, August 4, ANC Deputy President Paul Mashatile said that these partnerships have the potential of igniting the hopes of South Africans.  

While secretary general Fikile Mbalula added that the party was willing to enter “grand coalitions” with other parties with the condition that the party with the most votes must lead in the respective municipality. 

In response to this, Malatji urged Mbalula, (former ANCYL president between 2004 and 2008) to write a letter to all municipalities telling them to “pull out of those things [coalitions]”.  

The youth league president emphasized that people voted for ANC thus they should govern alone. “The ANC cannot reject its own manifesto and implement the manifesto of Al Jama-ah which was voted by five people,” said Malatji. 

The burning question of Unemployment  

The youth league called for the removal of two ministers from their respective positions, accusing them of hindering youth employment. Malatji called the Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, “the minister of unemployment,” and accused the Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel of obstructing the process of re-industrialization. 

In response, the ANC released a statement on Monday, August 6 which called the utterances a “denigration of personalities,” which they would not tolerate.  

Malatji, emphasized the need for radical industrialization as a way of creating more jobs and developing the South African economy, noting that 75% of South African raw materials need to be kept within the country and economic corridors need to be occupied by at least 50% of the youth.  

They did, however, praise Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi for creating employment through the Nasi ISpani programme and further urged premiers from different provinces to learn from him.  

The new leadership told Wits Vuvuzela that their tenure would signal the return of the ‘voice of the voiceless’ and championing of youth issues.  

FEATURED IMAGE: ANCYL comrades posing for a photo at their 26th National Conference at the Johannesburg City Hall. Photo: Sfundo Parakozov

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GALLERY: DA Marches to ANC headquarters over loadshedding

Thousands of ANC and DA protesters took to the streets of Johannesburg on Wednesday, January 26, blocking roads around Chief Albert Luthuli House.

DA supporters swarmed Gandhi square near Luthuli House while the ANC Youth League marched around the ANC’s headquarters. The former to demand action on loadshedding and the latter to ‘protect’ their party in a counter-protest. Here’s how events unfolded and how the police managed to keep control.

(more…)

Youth league marches against xenophobia

Members and supporters of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) were the latest to take to the streets of Johannesburg in a show of opposition to the recent wave of violence against foreign nationals.

MARCHING AGAINST XENOPHOBIA: ANCYL members marched and sang songs along the streets of Johannesburg in solidarity against the recent xenophobic attacks, on April 24 2015. Photo: Tanisha Heiberg

MARCHING AGAINST XENOPHOBIA: ANCYL members marched along the streets of Johannesburg in solidarity against the recent xenophobic attacks, on April 24. Photo: Tanisha Heiberg

A group of African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) members and supporters marched in the streets of Johannesburg against xenophobic attacks yesterday afternoon.

The march of around 100 people started on the iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge and made its way to the Yeoville Recreation Centre in Johannesburg.

A truck with loud speakers played songs of unity and led the supporters wearing ANC colours and waving flags and banners in solidarity against the recent attacks.

Boards bearing the hashtag #stopxenophobia, read “This is not what we fought for” and “An injury to one is an injury to all”.

“For us to realize the full potential of Africa we need to be united.”

The league’s provincial spokesperson Mbali Hlophe said the march comes from the rise of Afrophobic attacks that have taken place throughout the country and the need to unite all Africans.

ANCYL MARCH: Member's of the ANCYL marching to Yoeville Recreational Centre in support against xenophobia. Photo: Riante Naidoo

THE YOUTH  MARCH: Member’s of the ANCYL marching to Yoeville Recreational Centre in support against xenophobia. Photo: Riante Naidoo

“Whilst we acknowledge the societal ills that are taking place, we are saying to you redirect your energy because attacking each other isn’t going to work nor is it going to get you a job the next day,” Hlophe said.

Lehlohonolo Thatho, a learner at a Johannesburg school, said, “There are some learners from outside the country who don’t feel safe to go to school, so we have to say no to xenophobia.”

An energized crowd toyi-toyi’ed and sang anti-xenophobia songs as they made their way through the streets whilst attracting crowds of spectators from the buildings and shops along the route.

‘Do it for Chris Hani’ say protesters at ‘Vote NO’ campaign launch

WE SAY NO: ANCYL and SACP members gathered outside the location of the launch in protest against it.

WE SAY NO: ANCYL and SACP supporters  gather outside the launch of the ‘Vote NO’ campaign in protest of it. Photo: Rofhiwa Madzena

The launch of a campaign calling for South Africans to spoil their vote in the upcoming national elections attracted a small protest from political parties at Wits today. 

The  Sidikiwe Vukani! [We are fed up! Wake up!] campaign, formed by African National Congress (ANC) stalwarts Ronnie Kasrils and Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge was formally inaugurated at a small launch held at the campus in Braamfontein. 

Joined by Wits senior lecturer Vishwas Satgar, the group were called ‘traitors’ by protesters who were kept outside of the launch venue by Campus Control security officers.

Satgar, a lecturer in International Relations, said he and the other former ANC members were accused of slander, of attacking on the democracy and treason.

He added that the criticism was expected: “We welcome this as it is in the spirit of [a] democratic debate”. He also said: “If you vote for the ANC you vote for the Guptas who are parasites in the country”.

[pullquote]“I think he undermines the intellectual capacity of South Africans.”[/pullquote] 

WE'RE LISTENING: ANC veterans Ronnie Kasrils, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and Vishwas Satgar listen to a question asked by a journalist about the new campaign

WE’RE LISTENING: ANC veterans Ronnie Kasrils, Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge and Vishwas Satgar listen to a question asked by a journalist about the new campaign. Photo: Rofhiwa Madzena 

A statement released by the campaign read: “We want a just, fair and egalitarian society as promised society as promised in the freedom charter and clarified in The Constitution and the Bill of Rights.” The campaign calls on voters who are disgruntled with the ruling party to either spoil their vote or vote for a minority party.

Kasrils said the ANC cannot be reformed from the inside: “There is a need to speak up and not speak within the organisation.”

Kasrils was speaking inside the South West Engineering building at Wits while members of ANC, SACP (South African Communist Party), COPE, and Agang protested the launch from outside.

Secretary of the ANCYL (African National Congress Youth League), Yamkela Fanisi said “the issue of spoiling votes is not going to necessarily assist anyone, in fact, it’s not going to contribute to the development of this country … the idea of saying that people must spoil is recklessness and irresponsible of an old person like him [Ronnie Kasrils].”

Fanisi added: “I think he undermines the intellectual capacity of South Africans.”

Wits Vuvuzela spoke to political analyst Professor Daryl Glaser, head of the Politics Department at Wits, about the significance of the campaign in the run-up to the national elections on May 7.

Glaser said people are disillusioned with Zuma’s ANC and don’t really know where to put themselves or where to place their votes. He said the campaign more aimed at regular ANC voters. “Its aim is to try to punish or discipline the ANC into becoming the ANC that these campaigners want it to be.”

Glaser said he is sceptical about the effect of the campaign on the ANC and the impact will depend on which people spoil their votes at the polls.

The launch was attended by about 100 people with about 60 people protesting outside the venue.

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Juju recruits comrades at Wits

By Thuletho Zwane and Ray Mahlaka

JULIUS Malema’s new political party is targeting Wits to gain more supporters.

Witsie and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) executive member, Innocent Thombothi, Political Science and International Relations Honours, said that Witsies were showing interest in the EFF.

“We do have supporters on campus. Most [of them] are people in the SRC, ANCYL and the YCL [Young Communist League], and members of the PYA [Progressive Youth Alliance],” Thombothi said.

He said it was difficult for “comrades” to come out and admit they were members or supporters of the EFF because they still had to serve their elected official terms in their respective organisations.

“They are still deployed in the PYA. There’s a conflict of interest. Maybe after the PYA elections  [in August]. Most can’t disclose now. EFF is here, it is in Wits,” Thombothi said.

The EFF is a “radical and militant” political movement founded by former ANC Youth League President Malema.

It is a leftist movement whose policies include land expropriation without compensation, nationalisation of the banks and national resources, free education and health and opening South African borders to Africans.

[pullquote]”We do have supporters on campus. Most [of them] are people in the SRC, ANCYL and the YCL [Young Communist League], and members of the PYA [Progressive Youth Alliance]” [/pullquote] SRC treasurer, Justice Nkomo, however, said the EFF had no support at Wits. He said the EFF  was holding an event at Wits but had to cancel it because most Witsies attended a talk by ANC secretary-general  Gwede Mantashe.

“They wanted to infiltrate. If EFF was strong, they would be able to influence our own people,” Nkomo said.

“Those people who have crossed have always been politically irrelevant.”

Trevor Mkhawana, 2nd year Mining Engineering, said he knew a lot of people who support the EFF. “They believe in Malema. They got disillusioned by Zuma.”

Witsie Mabhoko Mojela said if the EFF won the 2014 elections, SA would turn into a banana republic.

“[But], the presence of Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, [EFF spokesperson] allows me to give EFF the benefit of the doubt. I trust his intellectual opinions and the good work he has done in the student organisations on campus.”

Puleng Tsehla, 2nd year Media Studies, from Lesotho, said she supports the EFF because the new party promotes open boundaries in Africa.

She said South Africans are always welcome in other African countries.

Other Witsies in the EFF include Floyd Shivambu who is studying his MA in political studies, Andile Mngxitama who has completed an MA in sociology and Ndlozi, a PhD politics candidate.

Related articles:

Just EFF’ing around? July 19, 2013

UJ says no to EFF  July 29, 2013

[VIDEO] Do Witsies know the EFF? July 19, 2013

Wits DASO and Wits ANCYL respond to sexual harassment allegations

Wits Vuvuzela has received two official statements in response to the current investigation into allegations of rape and sexual assault against senior lecturer in Drama Tsepo wa Mamatu.

Read the statement from the ANCYL Wits Branch here.

Read the statement from the statement from the Wits branch of the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation here.

Send us your comments and responses to these statements via email: editor@witsvuvuzela.com or tweeting us: @Wits Vuvuzela. Alternatively you can comment on our Facebook page: WitsVuvuzela.

 

ANCYL renews support for Motlanthe

It will be a “generational error” if deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe does not emerge as ANC president in its elective conference in December.

http://storify.com/akinoyedele/ancyl-renews-support-for-motlanthe

Rehabilitation is better than punishment

The five-year suspension of ANC Youth League president Julius Malema makes me think hard about the allocation of appropriate punishment in getting someone to acknowledge their mistakes and not repeat them.

No, of course Malema should not walk scot free if the disciplinary committee found him guilty of sowing division and bringing the party into disrepute. Those are definitely serious violations of the ANC’s code of conduct.

But suspend him for five years? Seriously?

That seems to us more like a conscious decision to effectively end his political career and silence him forever as opposed to making him acknowledge his wrongdoing and rehabilitate him to ensure he does not repeat the offences.

We are not at all fans of Malema or the ANC, but we certainly do not believe “Juju” is a bad leader. Looking only at his leadership, he has bravely challenged unemployment, education, skills development and other socio-economic issues affecting us as young South Africans, most of which even the senior leaders have not been daring enough to speak out on.

At Wits, the Men’s Res committee is facing suspension for “misconduct” during O-week. For two weeks now they have not been formally charged and have continued to endure the hardships of eviction from men’s res, forfeiting leadership privileges and experiencing academic strain.

How appropriate is all this in ensuring that if at all these young leaders are guilty they acknowledge their wrongdoing and more importantly do not repeat their offences? Is Wits trying to rehabilitate them or simply punish them with the aim of destroying their leadership aspirations?

While they wait for their charges to be laid and disciplinary hearings, it has often been the case that leaders at Wits who have been vocal about sensitive issues have seen their academic careers end prematurely.

Just like Malema who has been “disruptive” and “tjatjaraag” the Men’s Res committee could be in for a tough time.

However, I hope management deals with this issue in a manner that rehabilitates and allows these young leaders to acknowledge their wrongdoings, if any, as opposed to simply punishing them aimlessly.