SRC election candidate claims election exclusion

A Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) candidate was apparently removed from the ballot list days before the SRC elections.

Dominic Khumalo, 4th year LLB, claims  the Legal Office recommended his removal and the decision was made at a meeting between senior Wits management and the Dean of students on Friday August 17.

A notice outside polling stations warned students that voting for ‘candidate 5’ would spoil their ballot.

Earlier this year, Khumalo and fellow members of the Men’s Res house committee were suspended and temporarily evicted for misconduct, after they allegedly disrupted an inter-residence talent show during orientation week.

But Jabu Mashinini, chief electoral officer, said Khumalo withdrew his nomination, and has confirmed that she is in possession of a withdrawal letter from him.

“It was a personal choice. He decided to withdraw for personal reasons and we had to get permission from the VC because withdrawal for nomination had closed already,” she said.

Khumalo said he was not officially informed of the decision and went to confirm with deputy vice chancellor Yunus Ballim if the “rumour” was true. According to Khumalo, Ballim confirmed that he had been excluded.

Khumalo said he consulted with an advocate who advised him that a High Court interdict for the elections was his only form of redress. However, he did not get the interdict because it was expensive, and he did not want to seem power-hungry.

Khumalo said he had written a “very long letter” to the president and the Minister of Higher Education, and was waiting for a response.

Last year, Feziwe Ndwanyana , a PYA candidate, was excluded the day before the elections. She had been found guilty of misconduct during the student protest against fee increments in 2009.

Ballim and Prem Coopoo, dean of students, were approached for comment but had not yet responded at the time of going to print.

Published in Wits Vuvuzela 21st edition, 24th August 2012

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SRC campaigns against academic exclusion

The SRC has declared the next two weeks “Academic Exclusion Awareness Weeks”.

SRC president Morris Masutha has embarked on a number of lecture visits to students across campus to raise awareness about academic exclusion.

“Academic exclusion is another word for getting kicked out of the university for failing to meet faculty admission requirements,” said Masutha.

“Many students are not aware of this reality and as student representatives we believe that not bringing the dangers of academic exclusion to the attention of students would be a serious injustice.”

 While academic exclusion affects all students, first years are the most affected by it.

“We also condemn financial students who lose their financial aid packages because they forget to sign their loan agreement forms. This behaviour is unacceptable and it has to come to an end. Students are the reason why there is an SRC and it’s important that they take advantage of the services rendered by this structure,” said Masutha.

The aim of this initiative is to help prevent students from becoming academically excluded by informing them in advance of the risks.

This year the SRC has raised funds totalling R700 000 to help students facing academic exclusion.

“Having participated in the council for readmission committee for three years, I have realised that there are a number of mistakes that students make throughout the year. In the absence of these mistakes, most Wits students would avoid getting academically excluded,” Masutha said.

This week the SRC visited the faculty of science and next week will visit JCE and medical school.

“The high level of university dropouts undermines our fight for a fully subsidised higher education and it is therefore the responsibility of students to justify this cause by fighting academic exclusion,” said Masutha.