“One Million, One Month” target not yet reached


CAMPAIGN CONTINUES: Wits SRC deputy-president Sheera Kalla says the “One Million, One Month” campaign target has not been reached. Photo: Wits Vuvuzela.

Despite widespread reports that the Wits Students Representatives Council (SRC), has reached its target in the “One million, One Month” campaign, the organisation’s deputy president says this is not the case.

Sheera Kalla says it is difficult to estimate the total amount donated as the money comes in regularly but still needs to be properly allocated. But according to announcements made by Wits University via Twitter and its website, the R1 million target has been reached.

In a report released a short while ago, Wits University says the latest donation of R553 000 means the campaign has surpassed its target. The Wits announcement says that together with the SRC, it has “collectively raised over R1 million to assist the students from poor families who have not been granted funds for studies by the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).”

But, according to Kalla, some of the money mentioned by Wits in its announcment came in before the SRC’s campaign started. She added that it is likely that some of the donations may fall through as close to R300 000 has been pledged but not yet received.

“Thousands pledge but just like a pledge is on radio, it doesn’t mean that all the money pledged will come in”, Kalla said

In addition, Kalla said many donors “have been sending money into the accounts but without any reference to the humanitarian fund, the SRC or the campaign the money still needs to be traced back to the donor to find out where it is going.”

The campaign is still ongoing but the SRC was unable to confirm when the total amount raised will be made public.

Kalla told Wits Vuvuzela the campaign will continue even when the SRC reaches their target.

“The one million will not cover all the students so it would be silly of us to stop the campaign if/when we reach the target whether that will be tomorrow or next week, I don’t know”, she said.

Deputy President discusses Libya

DEPUTY President Kgalema Motlanthe will address this year’s annual Ruth First memorial lecture on Wednesday, August 17.

The theme of this year’s lecture is In Search of an African Foreign Policy. The focus of the lecture will be on Libya. 2011’s Ruth First fellow, Eusebius McKaiser, will be presenting his research findings into foreign policy on Libya. 

An exhibition of photographer Anton Hammerl’s work from Libya will also be on show. Hammerl was shot and killed while covering the Libyan conflict.

Last year’s lecture – themed How policy is affecting the marginalised and its impact on poverty – was addressed by Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Vavi reflected on First’s contribution to social injustices and highlighted the struggles the country is still facing.

“Her disdain for capitalism and her striving for social justice are amongst the lessons that we as workers continue to draw from her legacy, 28 years after her brutal killing by the apartheid state.

“The overriding lesson we continue to learn from her is that capitalism and imperialism have inflicted immense misery on humanity.

“She would be shocked…that 48% of South Africans live below R322 a month and 25% of the population now survives on state grants.

“As we celebrate women’s month, she would have to face the reality that income inequality is still racialised and gendered: an average African man earns in the region of R2 400 p/m, whilst an average white man earns around R19 000. Most white women earn in the region of R9 600 p/m, whereas most African women earn R1 200 p/m.”

[Do we need to go this far back if we have space problems?]McKaiser is an associate lecturer at the Wits Philosophy Department and the Wits Centre for Ethics. He is also a political commentator who writes for local and international media on SA politics and ethical debates.