Wits gives PYA edge in SRC elections, EFF shut out

The SRC for 2014/2015 are made up of the PYA and Project W, with no one from the EFF. Photo: Tendai Dube

I AM SRC: The SRC for 2014/2015 are made up of candidates from the Progressive Youth Alliance and Project W. No one candidates were elected from the Wits Economic Freedom Fighters. Photo: Tendai Dube

CORRECTION: The article initially and incorrectly stated that 31 000 votes had been cast during SRC elections, when only 7024 valid ballots were cast. 31 905 is the total voters roll, or number of students eligible to vote. Wits Vuvuzela regrets the error which has been corrected below.

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Two weeks of Student Representative Council (SRC) electoral campaigning  ended on Thursday with the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) edging out Project W, nine seats to six.

Current SRC member, Jamie Mighti, who was running for re-election to the SRC, received the most votes, with 2 929 out of the total 7024 valid votes being cast.

“I’m very happy,” he told Wits Vuvuzela.

Political newcomers Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) were completely shut out, with their members sitting at rock bottom on the candidate list. Despite this, they continued to sing and dance outside the Great Hall, after election results had been announced by dean of students Dr Pamela Dube, earlier today. They were joined by a mass of PYA supporters, kitted out in their yellow and black t-shirts.

Current SRC president and PYA member Shafee Verachia called Witsies “intelligent” for not voting for the EFF. “There was obviously stuff in the party’s manifesto that they clearly don’t like,” he said.

EFF candidate, Anele Nzimande said the party was “different” from the other organisations and said they would be continue to be active outside of the SRC. “Even though we didn’t win, we will still continue to work from the outside with the students,” Nzimande said.

Also notably absent from the winner’s row was PYA candidate Michlene Mongae, who is a member of the current SRC and was campaigning for re-election.

PYA candidate Mcebo Dlamini put the PYA’s win down to “loyalty”, saying that students voted for what they know.

7 192 students voted out of the approximately 30 000 at Wits, amounting to only 23% of the student population.

The SRC president will be announced later this month and will most likely be someone from the PYA, as they had the most candidates elected onto the SRC.

Mighti said that while Project W had hoped to be the dominant party, they were committed to working in partnership with the PYA.

The new SRC will take office on November 1 this year.

The SRC, in order of the number of votes received are as follows:

 

Jamie Mighti (Project W) – 2929 votes

Thamsanqa Pooe (Project W)- 2894 votes

Blaise  Koetsie (Progressive Youth Alliance)- 2812 votes

Senzekahle Mbokazi (Progressive Youth Alliance)- 2789 votes

Mthuthuzel Mahlangu (Progressive Youth Alliance)- 2715 votes

Mcebo Dlamini (Progressive Youth Alliance)- 2606 votes

Shaeera Kalla (Progressive Youth Alliance)- 2584 votes

Fasiha Hassan (Progressive Youth Alliance)- 2554 votes

Gwinyai Dube (Project W)- 2417 votes

Omhle Ntshingila (Progressive Youth Alliance)- 2349 votes

Kabelo Murray (Project W)- 2317 votes

Waseem Talia (Progressive Youth Alliance)- 2308 votes

Amogelang Manganyi (Progressive Youth Alliance)- 2307 votes

Tanya Otto (Project W)- 2287 votes

Enhle Khumalo (Project W)- 2279 votes

 

EFF endorses EFF Student Command’s protest at Wits

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have issued a statement calling on Wits to recognise the EFF as an official student society on campus, called the “EFF Student Command”.

This is in response to the Wits EFF staging a sit-in in the office of the vice chancellor, Professor Adam Habib over the past two days, to demand their registration.

EFF Calls on Wits university to recognize the EFF student command in campus

Economic Freedom Fighters fully supports the occupation of the Vice Chancellor’s office at the University of the Witwatersrand by students belonging to the EFF Student Command. The student fighters are demanding that the university officially recognize the EFF Student Command as a student organisation.

EFF Student  Command at Wits has been in a  struggle for recognition since its launch last year in August 2013. To be a formal student organisation allows it to function freely in campus in terms of venue bookings and access to other facilities. To this end, more than 500 students are signed up members of the EFF Student Command and many more want to be members.

It must be read as a suppression of the freedom of association and expression for the university to disallow the EFF Student Command to exist. The gates of the University of the Witwatersrand must be open to EFF because as an organisation, it is the number one choice for the people.

EFF further calls on Professor Adam Habib, the Vice Chancellor, to speedily give right of recognition to the EFF Student Command. Habib must also appreciate the spirit of robust democratic determination of the student fighters who in defiance of the decision to disallow their existence engage in non-violent protest. Threatening them with disciplinary charges is in itself a suppression a democratic right to protest and to defy unjust rules and decisions.

EFF must exist at Wits, students want it and it belongs to the students.”

Source: the official EFF website

RECENT STORIES

Wits Vuvuzela: UPDATED: Habib responds to EFF protest on 11th floor, April 3 and EFF occupies VC’s office, April 2

 

 

 

UPDATED: Habib responds to EFF protest on 11th floor

Six Wits EFF members continue to occupy the 11th floor of Senate House. Photo: Tendai Dube

Six Wits EFF members continue to occupy the 11th floor of Senate House. Photo: Tendai Dube

UPDATE: Habib responds

Wits vice-chancellor Professor Habib has responded to questions from Wits Vuvuzela about the issue of the registration of the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters).

Responding via email, Habib said, “The SRC president claims that the EFF did not apply on time … EFF suggests that the reason is a political one, and are appealing to me to overturn the decision.”

“The university will not allow political rationales to be used to exclude anyone, but will need to investigate the allegation before acting.”

In response to the protest currently underway in Senate House, he said, “As far the protest goes, I have said that we will investigate and then act. We have enforced the principle of Wits being a free space, even when it has been deemed unpopular in certain quarters. This principle will be defended again.  But we will investigate what happened before we act. One should not make decisions because one is being muscled. One makes decision after investigating accusations and then acting by principle.”

 

ORIGINAL STORY: Published Thursday, 3 April at 10.50 am

Students in solidarity with the EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) are not being allowed up to the 11th floor of Senate House today.

The Wits EFF staged a sit-in in the office of the vice-chancellor Professor Adam Habib throughout the day yesterday to demand the registration of the organisation as a club and society. But according to Mbe Mbhele, one of the students currently part of the protest, students who want to join them are being prevented from doing so.

11th floor remains closed to more EFF supporters

As of 8am this morning, six Wits EFF members had been relocated from the vice-chancellor’s office to another section of the 11th floor of Senate House. They claim that they were threatened with interdicts and tried to resist. They have been told by Campus Security that they cannot leave the room and can’t get food or their books to study as they would not be allowed into the room.

Downstairs, students are being asked for their student cards and security is not allowing anyone up to the 11th floor. “This shows how much the university doesn’t respect the right to associate [with a political party], they are infringing on our right to protest … this is political intolerance,” one of the students, who refers to himself as a “fighter” said.

[pullquote]”We are tired of waiting to wait. This time, we decided not to wait anymore. As a radical organisation we must take actions that agree with our manifesto. We will continue to occupy.” [/pullquote]

Protests must have rules

Last night and this morning, Habib and members of the EFF engaged in a debate on Twitter. “Habib’s responses on Twitter are not in our favour,” one of the students said. @EFFSpokesperson asked Habib to “be the good professor and register the EFF now!”

However, Habib (@adhabb), tweeted, “you have the right to demonstrate within rules. As I said freedom comes with responsibilities, democracy with rights.” In response to the removal of the protestors from his office he said, “There are (sic) sensitive material in my office. It is irresponsible to leave people there overnight. Protests must have rules.”

“We have been studying, reading books and having debates about men like Steve Biko, because they are who we draw our inspiration from,” one of the “fighters” said. “They had to tighten security, we were respectful of their property the whole day, we didn’t vandalise.”

EFF occupation is being practically impactful

Monwabisi Dlangana, one of the original occupiers said this all “comes back to the university’s intimidation tactics. The first thing they do is take your student ID and card. Before you [Wits Vuvuzela] got here, we were singing, but were asked by a university meeting to calm down”. He added, “We are tired of waiting to wait. This time, we decided not to wait anymore. As a radical organisation we must take actions that agree with our manifesto. We will continue to occupy.”

“It’s 4 weeks to elections and we can’t campaign, but the PYA (the Progressive Youth Alliance) are able to continue. We have a membership of above 500 students who have signed EFF documentation and their basic fundamental right to organise is being denied,” another one of the “fighters” explained.

“We don’t know how Pam Dube reached the conclusion that we submitted our application [to become an official student society] late, we did submit on time,” Mbembhele said. However, according to Habib’s tweet, “We have repeatedly asked EFF for a copy of their application to become a student society. We have not yet received it”.

When asked if they felt they were having an impact with so few numbers, Dlangana said “We are being practically impactful. When students come back next week they will know … even at home students are thinking about this.”

 RECENT STORIES:

Wits Vuvuzela: EFF occupies VC’s office, April 2

 

PYA-EFF spat leaves disabled students out in the cold

PYA members burning project W T-shirts. Picture provided.

PYA members burning Project W t-shirts. Picture provided.

DISABLED Wits students lost their place at O-week due to an ugly spat between the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) and Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).
Members of the Wits Disability Unit—an office dedicated to helping disabled students—lost their spot in the O-week clubs and societies tent on Wednesday when their table was allegedly taken over by Wits EFF.The Wits Disability Unit was left off to the side with their materials pinned haphazardly to a table manned by three of their members, two of whom were in wheelchairs.
“Now we have to put our posters here,” said a unit member pointing to posters glued to a table.

[pullquote align=”right”]”They will never register us, they are ANC. They lie and say that we didn’t submit at all”[/pullquote]

The unit had a spot in the tent but, unlike many other clubs and societies, their table was without amenities like a bulletin board.
Wits EFF Chair, Vuyani Pambo said SRC clubs and societies portfolio holder Sarah Mokwebo asked Campus Control to evict Wits EFF from the tent. Mokwebo told them the Wits EFF table belonged to the Wits Disability Unit. She attempted to lead the Disability Unit back to the table occupied by Wits EFF but the red-beret clad students refused to move. “We won’t concede the space. We have our freedom of expression,” Pambo said.
Pambo accused Mokwebo of using the disabled students for “cheap politics”.
“She’s trying to play cheap politics by using disabled people. She was riding them on their wheel chairs,” Pambo said.
Both Mokwebo and SRC secretary Michlene Mongae declined to comment to Wits Vuvuzela on the spat with Wits EFF. Wits EFF are not a recognised club and society at Wits.Pambo said this was due to a rivalry with the PYA—which includes the ANC Youth League—that dominates the SRC. “They say we are not a club,” said Pambo.

“They will never register us, they are ANC. They lie and say that we didn’t submit at all.”

Wits EFF was not the only one of the PYA’s political rivals to be made unwelcome in the clubs and societies tent. On Tuesday, Projected W was forcibly ejected from the tent by PYA members led by Mokwebo. Like Wits EFF, Project W is not a recognised club and society at Wits.In cellphone pictures sent to Wits Vuvuzela by Project W, PYA members can be seen setting Project W t-shirts alight and stamping them underfoot.

Project W SRC member Jamie Mighti told Wits Vuvuzela that his organisation was “banned” last year because of its constitution. Mokwebo rejected the claim that Project W had been banned. “It never existed,” she said.
Sithembiso Mphunyane, the secretary of the Wits SA Students Congress, said Project W and Wits EFF should not complain because “the law took its course”.
“[EFF] are an excited newborn…however they failed [to] meet the requirements by virtue of them not applying on time. Therefore [they] are not eligible to do anything on campus, they are not in any position to talk to students,” Mphunyane said.
Mphunyane called Project W “excited clowns that are just excited and mushroomed out the conditions of excitement”.
Mphunyane said they removed Project W from the tent at the request of the PYA members of the SRC.
However, he denied the PYA had used “physical” means to remove Project W.

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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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