On your marks, get set, vote

TO VOTE OR NOT TO VOTE: Students will be updated about online voting processes on October6.                                                                                                                   Photo: Kayleen Morgan

A TOTAL of 71 candidates have been announced for the upcomingStudent Representative Council (SRC) elections which will take place in over a week’s time. This is the longest list of contesting
students to date, according to the Student Governance Office.

Witsies from different political parties and student organisations are excited about these coming elections scheduled for October 17 and 18.
Jabu Mashinini, a senior programme adviser for student governance, said she is verypleased with the number of candidates running because it means that “students are contesting and are interested in the politics and student governance of the university”.

Wits Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) candidate Hayley Davison said that in the following year she would like to see students from other campuses included in the focus points of the next SRC.
Davison also said she would like to see a more productive approach with regards to challenging issues such as fees and accommodation on campus. She added that student politics and national politics should be separated. “The next SRC should continue to fight for students even if students are not supporters of the mother body,” she said.

While Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA) has the least number of candidates running with only three entries, candidate Phetani Madzivhandila said the number of entries is a
good opportunity “to have diverse perspectives in student politics which will allow us to depart from the sole narrative of the Project Youth Alliance (PYA)”.
Though PASMA is pleased with the candidate numbers, Madzivhandila said he had hoped for more time to campaign as candidates only have one week to engage with students.

Independent runner Morerwa Ngwato said that student political groups did not accommodate his personal drive to encourage community projects and entrepreneurship.
“Political parties tend to reiterate the same issues such as free education policies but I want to bring business innovation and a community entrepreneurship component into student governance,” he said.

Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are gunning to win the majority of the seats in the upcoming election according to candidate Sivuyile Mhato. “The reason PYA has governed with a majority for so long is because there hasn’t been progressive contestation,” he said.

For this reason, he said it is good there are many candidates running this year because it means that students are taking themselves seriously and taking governance into their own hands. Mhato encouraged students to vote based on what they see in the manifesto and values of the organisation instead of friends and popular individuals because “populism is what’s killing us”.

An international law student who preferred to remain anonymous said she is not voting because the “SRC uses international students as a campaign strategy but do not cater to their issues once they are elected. I’m tired and so I’m not voting,” she said. [LISTEN] : Wits Vuvuzela asked students if they would be voting in the upcoming elections

Candidates from PYA were unavailable to speak to the media on its prospects for the upcoming elections. Voting for the SRC general elections will be carried
out electronically this year. Mashinini said students will be updated on the processes on Friday afternoon after the candidates have been briefed.

Wits Vuvuzela ran a poll on twitter to find out whether students would be voting in this year’s general SRC elections.  SEE BELOW

 

EFF to lead shutdown of Tshwane

EFF CIC, Julius Malema adressinf media at the headquarters in Braamfontein. Photo:Olwethu Boso

EFF CIC, Julius Malema addresses the media at the EFF headquarters in Braamfontein.     Photo: Olwethu Boso

Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) commander in chief, Julius Malema has called upon South Africans to join the EFF in shutting down Tshwane.

Malema was speaking at a press briefing at the EFF headquarters in Braamfontein earlier today. He called on South Africans of all creeds and colours to unite in massive protest action in Tshwane on November 2, to defend South Africa’s democracy against state capture and strengthen the call for free education.

Malema said the EFF intends to shut down businesses in Tshwane for the day as the party works towards securing a list of demands.

The first demand that the party intends to make is that the South African government must provide free quality education at higher education level from 2017 onwards.

“Jacob Zuma must immediately step down as President and Head of State in South Africa as well as Shaun Abrahams‚ the NDPP of Zuma‚ must immediately step down from the National Prosecutions Authority,” said Malema.

Finally, the party will demand that the Guptas be disconnected from all state related contracts and must immediately leave South Africa.

Commenting on the current Fees Must Fall protests, Malema said he guarantees that the EFF would continue providing logistical, political, moral and legal support to student activists around the country.

“The only reaction the ANC is willing to give towards the conversation of free education is violent suppression,” he said about President Zuma setting up a task team which consists mainly of the security cluster.

During the briefing Malema announced that he was aware of the police outside the offices to serve him summons for things he had said in Mangaung in 2014.

“They are charging me with the attempt to hide their own inequities.”

 

No prosecution for arrested Wits protesters

 

Student who were arrested earlier today as part of the Fees Must Fall protest that took place at Wits University will not be prosecuted for their charges and will be released.

The group of 31, who mostly belong to Men’s Res, are being held at the Hillbrow Police Station as they await their release, which is expected to be at 4pm today.

The protesters were arrested for “contravening a court interdict,” according to the Hillbrow Police Station’s spokesperson Mduduzi Zondo. The court order prevents anyone from obstructing the entering or exiting of any person, “or any of its buildings, facilities, residences, halls, classrooms and the like”.

Vuyani Pambo, a member of the Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), said that he could not supply the names of the arrested students. However, he could confirm that Koketso Poho, chairperson of the Wits EFF, was part of the group who were arrested and was injured in the process.

“Once all the 31 students were processed, then the dockets were taken to the senior prosecutor for advice to see if they would prosecute on the case,” said Florencia Belvedere, an attorney from Lawyers for Human Rights whom is working on the case.

Belvedere said that the senior prosecutor then agreed not to prosecute and agreed to allow the students to be released.

“The issue remains however whether there is some grounds to carry the court order because today the students are released but tomorrow, they demonstrate again and we could be back here again,” said Belvedere.