Man robbed and tied to a grave in Braamfontein cemetery

CONCERNING: Thugs have been robbing locals and tying them up in the cemetry

CONCERNING: Thugs have been active  robbing Braamfontein locals and, in one attack, tying them up in the cemetery. Photo: Ilanit Chernick.

Wits Campus Control have warned students of an escalation in criminal activity in the area following the robbery of a man who was left tied to a grave in Braamfontein cemetery recently.

A tweet from the Campus Control account sent out on July 24 warned students that on “Enoch Sontonga [there are] thugs becoming violent”.

Security and liaison manager at Campus Control, Lucky Khumela, said the tweet followed the armed robbery of an unidentified man on July 23.

“A man was approached by three armed men. They robbed him of his valuables and then tied him up with wires to a grave in the Braamfontein cemetery,” Khumela said.

The man was left tied to the grave during the night wearing only a t-shirt and boxers. He managed to untie himself and alerted Campus Control of the attack. Campus Control then informed the South African Police Services (SAPS).

Khumela said police have promised to increase patrols in the area.

The area around the bridge outside the cemetery, across the road from Wits, has become a known crime hot-spot for thugs and students have been warned to be cautious there even during the day.

“There are guards from 6am to 6pm, but students must still be careful,” said Khumela

Campus Control also stressed on Twitter that students must not walk alone or with valuables in “isolated areas” after hours because “robberies outside campus is a real concern”.

Two female Wits students were also the victims of two separate smash and grab incidents outside the Wits Art Museum over this past week.

On Friday afternoon a student was driving along Jorissen street when a man approached her car window, smashed it and grabbed her bag.

The second robbery took place on Monday afternoon, also on Jorissen street, when another female student was waiting in traffic. A man smashed her window and grabbed her cellphone before running off into the busy street.

Campus Control posts security guards on Jorrisen street. However, Khumela said the smash and grab thieves were “opportunists” who waited until the guards were patrolling further down the street before striking. Khumela said they were investigating the recent incidents.

 

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DFL encourage art and medicine collaboration

HEALTHY ART:  Victoria Hume explains to Drama for Life about how to integrate music and art into medicine. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

HEALTHY ART: Victoria Hume explains to Drama for Life about how to integrate music and art into medicine. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

Art and medicine combined can be used as a tool to heal people, Victoria Hume told members of Drama for Life (DFL) recently.

DFL is trying to close the gaps between these two fields by incorporating art into medicine and bringing this into South Africa’s public health system. They are currently working on a project about using drama and its techniques to educate the public about diabetes.

Musician and artist Victoria Hume spoke to DFL on Monday about using music, singing and breathing techniques to help patients who are dealing with “complex conditions” such as diabetes and those who have been through “traumatic healthcare experiences”.

She also focused on how to “make hospitals a centre of community”.

“It’s about building relationships between South African institutes like Drama for Life and Baragwanath.”

DFL and Hume have collaborated on this project to educate the public about “drawing attention” to things that are “little known” about medical conditions like diabetes.
Hume also told Wits Vuvuzela that despite the economic problems in South Africa’s public health system, it is still possible to implement drama and music techniques into our hospitals without just “sticking pictures over cracked walls”.
“It’s about building relationships between South African institutes like Drama for Life and Baragwanath [Hospital] for example” she said.
DFL are currently training students in drama therapy and techniques and Hume said it is “important to train them in this type of context as well”.

JoziFM DJ’s murdered girlfriend a Witsie and secretary in engineering faculty

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Flavia Rachel ‘Dolly’ Tshabalala was a secretary at Wits University. She was allegedly killed by her boyfriend, JoziFM DJ, Donald Sebolai. Photo: Facebook.

The young woman who was allegedly killed by her boyfriend, JoziFM DJ Donald Sebolai on Sunday, worked at Wits University as a secretary.

Flavia Rachel Tshabalala who worked in the Wits School of Civil Engineering, was found dead in her flat in Soweto bypolice. She was allegedly stabbed to death.

Wits Communications confirmed to Wits Vuvuzela on Tuesday that Tshabalala “worked as a senior secretary” for the university.

“Her death leaves a tremendous void and she will be dearly remembered.”

Professor Ian Jandrell, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment referred to Tshabalala as “a revered and much-appreciated staff member.”

“Her death leaves a tremendous void and she will be dearly remembered,” he said.

Tshabalala was also studying towards a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in psychology at the Wits Plus centre for part-time students.

The Independent Online reported earlier that Sebolai, a chat show host, called a friend of Tshabalala’s and admitted to killing her.

He then called her again early on Sunday morning and said that Tshabalala was “just sleeping” and her friend should come to the flat to “help wake her up”.

The friend alerted police which led to the discovery of Tshabalala’s body. Sebolai has not been seen or heard from since.

 

 

‘Minor’ violations of sexual harassment continue at Wits

Professor Jackie Dugard has been appointed the Director of the Sexual Harassment Office at Wits. Photo: Wits University.

Professor Jackie Dugard encourages staff and students to report any incidents of sexual harassment to her office. Photo: Wits University.

Inappropriate gestures, sexually-charged comments and even jokes of a sexual nature are still fairly common at Wits University despite last year’s high profile dismissals for sexual harassment.

Regarded as “minor” infringements, these incidents are just as serious and need to be reported, says Professor Jackie Dugard, director of the Wits sexual harassment office (SHO).

Dugard spoke to Wits Vuvuzela earlier this week about the less obvious forms of sexual harassment that occur between lecturers, staff members and students.

She emphasised that “unwanted attention, unwanted gestures, touching and comments,” by lecturers to students as well as staff to staff could fall under the “category” of sexual harassment.

“Minor” infringements are “just as important to report as major infringements” because both are “serious offenses that must be taken seriously.”She said the determination of the seriousness of an infringement depends on circumstance and context.

“If we’re talking about the more clear-cut scenario where the attention is unwanted, then anything of a sexist or sexual nature is unacceptable.”

“Sexual harassment is sexual harassment no matter how big or small the allegation,” she said.

Dugard says that all reports of sexual harassment regardless of their nature, are recorded by her team. “We report it all and take it all very seriously so that if there are repeat transgressions we have a historical record that might collectively add up to something much more ‘serious’.”

Reported incidents

The newly-formed SHO has already recorded a variety of issues which include “sexist” material being shown by a professor in a staff meeting and incessant commenting about a student’s appearance by a tutor.

Student on student harassment is also an issue that Dugard and the sexual harassment team hope to tackle. As examples of the problem Dugard says earlier this year a case of student on student rape at a party was reported to the SHO. Another case involved the intimidation of a female student by her ex-boyfriend.

Lecturer to Student Contact

Despite the differentiation between offences, Dugard said she is “not sure how helpful it is to categorise or try to delineate too rigidly between serious and minor” infringements because “according to Wits policy, if you violate the Wits code of conduct or any related policies such as sexual harassment… you can be subjected to a disciplinary inquiry and sanctioned accordingly”.

“Anything that falls outside of a professional relationship is not acceptable. In addition anything that falls outside of professional mentoring is not okay, unless it is wanted and reciprocated.”

Dugard said that at the moment there “isn’t an outright ban at Wits on student-staff relationships,” but it is something “being considered” by the university.

“Some universities have such policies in order to eliminate a lot of grey areas.”

 

REPORT SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Incidents of sexual harassment can be reported to the Sexual Harassment Office on the 6th Floor of University Corner. Call: 011-717-9790. Visit the website of the Wits sexual harassment office.

 

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Wits Vuvuzela: Former Witsie is new sexual harassment office head, February 6, 2014

Wits Vuvuzela: Wits academic resigns amid sexual harassment investigations, October 31, 2013

Wits Vuvuzela: Wits sexual harassment inquiry complete, September 4, 2013

 

 

 

ANC comfortably on top according to votes from stations at Wits

By Ilanit Chernick and Tracey Ruff

According to the latest national poll results from the two voting stations at Wits University, the ANC is sitting comfortably at the top with a 58.0% lead from the Old Mutual Sports Hall station and a 49.47% lead from the Education Campus station.

The provincial vote sees no change in the ranking order, with the ANC obtaining 50.36% from the Old Mutual Sports Hall station (DA at 28.17%) and a lower 42.97% from the Education Campus station with the DA following closely behind at 37.93%.

Nationally and provincially, the EFF has come in third each time, obtaining roughly 11% of the vote from the Wits voting stations. The party’s highest voting percentage of 11.1% came from Old Mutual Sports Hall, which is for the provincial elections.

Jarrod Delport, supporter of the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO), says he’s “overjoyed and elated” with the mark the DA has made both provincially and nationally.

“[The results] show that many South Africans, one in four to be precise, are rejecting corruption and choosing the policies of the DA. The party is the only party that has consistently grown since 1994 and will continue to do so.”

National results from the University of Johannesburg’s Auckland Park Campus in Westdene put the ANC firmly on top with 63.84% of the vote. With 483 valid votes, the DA comes in second with 18.02% and the EFF is third with 9.01%. Agang and Cope have made no impact.

Students have taken to Twitter to express their feelings about the results. Wits student Mothusi Mothopeng tweeted the following: “Just realized that by the time the national election comes along I will be a Wits graduate #ThankYouANC”.

Results from feeder areas around Wits University show a slightly different order of things. Voters at Holy Family College in Parktown put the DA on top nationally with 50.9%. ANC came in second with 31.58% and the EFF third with 7.21%.

National results from the Braamfontein Metropolitan Centre show the ANC leading by a large gap with 62.24%. The EFF is in second position with 16.09%.

A Wits student tweeting from the account of @Tebza808 said that the results from Rosebank Primary School where the DA is leading with 69.21% “seem legit”.

Referring to the ANC’s lead from votes at the Wits Education Campus, Witsie Tebogo Thothela tweeted: “We thank all students at education campus, we came out and voted ANC”.

Zareef Minty, Wits student and member of the Patrotic Alliance (PA), spoke about the top three parties. He believes the ANC has campaigned really well and says “it’s great to see the ANC taking initiative”.

Minty added that the DA has seen an upliftment in its campaign and believes DA’s Mmusi Maimane has done a “great job”.

Commenting on the EFF, Minty says the EFF is definitely a “dark horse” and has done well considering the party only was formed a mere 8 months ago.

Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) president Shafee Verachia says he is “more happy that students voted,” but he declined to comment on the elections results.

Final confirmation of results is expected on Saturday, May 10.

A students’ guide: the top 10 must-read books

  The-Catcher-in-the-Rye-the-catcher-in-the-rye-6057181-264-4001Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (1951).

 Although not a recent novel, The Catcher in the Rye is a coming of age story which shares the experiences and challenges faced during a young boy’s transition from adolescence to adulthood.

 

 

 

9780349106533 2. Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (1995)

 A truly inspirational and tear-jerking autobiography that tells the story of the life of the late former president, Nelson Mandela. Mandela narrates his struggles under Apartheid before, during and after his 27 years in  prison on Robben Island.

 

 

 

lotr3. Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien (1937)

Famous today for its film portrayal, The Lord of the Rings trilogy is a timeless classic which explores the fantasy world of Middle Earth. It follows the journey of Frodo, a young hobbit who discovers a ring of great power that could destroy Middle Earth if it falls into the hands of the evil Sauron. 

 

 

the-help-stockett4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (2009)

Set in the midst of segregation in the American South during the 1960’s, The Help tells the story of three different women living in Jackson, Mississippi. Two are black maids working for white families and the third an aspiring writer who takes it upon herself to tell the life stories of the black maids of Jackson.

 

 

 

gatsby_book_preview5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)

An American classic which scrutinises the lifestyle, aspiration and wealth of the “roaring 20’s” in New York City. The story is narrated through the eyes of Nick Carraway who becomes entangled with the mysterious Jay Gatsby – a wealthy tycoon who throws elaborate parties in his mansion on Long Island

 


1360673-1681590371-l6. Ways of Dying by Zakes Mda (1996)

Ways of Dying can be described as an unconventional love story that takes place during South Africa’s transitional period from Apartheid to democracy. It has a magical-realist aspect and looks at the violence and dilemmas that blacks across South Africa faced during the transition. 

 

 

atonement7. Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001)

Atonement tells the story of how a simple error in judgement can have damaging repercussions for the present and future for oneself and ones loved ones. The story is set in three different time periods – pre, post and during World War Two – when two lovers are separated by a mistake that could cost them their future.

 

 

 

Hunger_games8. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (2008)

Set in a post-apocalyptic North America, The Hunger Games is a story of strength, endurance and eventual dissent against the autocratic regime of “The Capital”. The protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, is forced to battle it out against 11 other “tributes”–teenagers like herself–in the annual event of “The Hunger Games”.

 

 

 

HalfYellowSun9. Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006)

Set in Nigeria, the lives of four individuals are thrown into chaos as the  Nigerian-Biafran Civil War breaks out during 1967. The lives a young houseboy,  a British citizen, a professor and a political figure are deeply affected by the difficulties that befall them during and after this tragic period. 

 

 

 

 

14192900_12071222222410. The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)

The Perks of being a Wallflower  looks at the life of Charlie through  a series of letters that he writes to an unnamed friend. He describes his difficulties as a high school freshman, his life, love and his new found friends – all in their final year of high school.

Vuvuzela Journalist mugged at Wits

Wits Vuvuzela journalist was mugged at Wits on Wednesday night after the Orlando Pirates vs. Bidvest Wits soccer match.

The journalist, who asked not to be named, said he was in the Wits parking lot behind the stadium when he was approached by two men in Orlando Pirate shirts.

“I was on my way to my car…there were not a lot of people there at all and it was dark,” he said.

The men demanded that he hand over his valuables. At the time he was in possession of his car keys, cellphone and a camera.

“I wasn’t sure if they were armed and I didn’t want to get aggressive so I just gave them what they wanted,” he said.

[pullquote]“I wasn’t sure if they were armed and I didn’t want to get aggressive so I just gave them what they wanted[/pullquote]

He handed over his phone and managed to get away before they could get the other items.

He then ran back to the stadium to ask the on-duty police for help, “they tried [to help] but they told me there was nothing they could really do because there were so many people,” he said.

Over the past few weeks there has been a surge of crime in and around Wits campus. Last week Wits Vuvuzela reported three attempted kidnappings outside Main campus in Braamfontein.

Students are urged to be careful and vigilant especially when walking or driving alone at night.

Young people ambivalent about the vote

SERIOUS TALK: Andrew Gasnolar (Agang), Dali Mpofu (EFF), Mmusi Maimane (DA) and Fikile Mbalula (ANC) (from left to right) answer questions at a youth debate that focused on the theme, "Why do you deserve my vote?". Photo: Tracey Ruff

SERIOUS TALK: Political party representatives Andrew Gasnolar (Agang), Dali Mpofu (EFF), Mmusi Maimane (DA) and Mawethu Rune (ANC) (from left to right) answer questions at a youth debate that focused on the theme, “Why do you deserve my vote?” Photo: Tracey Ruff

 by Ilanit Chernick and Tracey Ruff

Young voters had a chance to question political heavy-hitters at a debate on Tuesday but many of the youth still expressed ambivalence about who they would vote for.

The debate, called “Why, do you deserve my vote?”, was held at Jozi Hub at 44 Stanley on Tuesday afternoon and gave young people the chance to ask questions to candidates from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), ANC, Democratic Alliance (DA) and Agang.

Musician Simon Tshukudu voiced the opinion of many of the young people present when he said he was uncertain about who to vote for because “none of the political parties running keep their promises” and he was concerned about “corruption within the parties.”

[pullquote]“No one has been that impressive or awe-inspiring,”[/pullquote]

However, despite his ambivalence, Tshukudu said he attended the debate because he wanted to “voice his opinion about issues in the country”.

Tuesday’s debate focused on addressing the youth’s lack of participation in the upcoming election and the great amount of voter apathy among the youth. In addition to being held at Jozi Hub, six students from across the country were chosen to participate in the debate via Google Hangout.

DA Gauteng premier candidate Mmusi Maimane said was encouraging the youth to vote because “it’s a South African’s right” to do so.

“We would like to build a country that is inclusive of all, including young people, especially the 1.6 million youth [in Gauteng] who can’t find work.”

The EFF’s Dali Mpofu said there was a “problem with the youth” and he hoped to “interest young people who are undecided to get involved and participate”.

 POLITICS OF FUN: The EFF's Dali Mpofu and the DA's Mmusi Maimane share a lighthearted moment at a youth debate held on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Tracey Ruff

POLITICS OF FUN: The EFF’s Dali Mpofu and the DA’s Mmusi Maimane share a lighthearted moment at a youth debate held on Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Tracey Ruff

ANC representative Mawethu Rune said he did not agree that the youth were apathetic because ANC Youth League members were winning SRC elections in universities. “[This] shows more young people are getting involved in mainstream politics”.

Following the debate, many students were still ambivalent about the election. Student entrepreneur Tebogo Photoane told Wits Vuzuzela that he was still unsure who to vote for.

“No one has been that impressive or awe-inspiring,” Photoane said.

Former Wits student Mashokane Mahlo, however, said she had done a lot of thinking about her vote and had decided on what party to support.

“I know who I’m voting for, but my decision was changed recently because of new information I received,” said Mahlo. “It took a long time for me to decide.”

 

Youth leaders overwhelmed by noisy support at latest Wits Great Debate

great debate

PANEL DISCUSSION: Bonisile Modise, Mbali Ntuli & Floyd Shivambu seated on stage for the Wits Great Debate. Photo: Roxanne Joseph

Intolerance reigned during the second installation of the Great Debate at Wits University last night.

Last night’s debate featured Mbali Ntuli of the DA youth wing, EFF (Economic Freedom Fighters) Chief of Staff Floyd Shivambu and ANCYL (African National Congress) coordinator Bonisile Modise all of whom could hardly be heard amid the persistent combination of boos, jeers and cheers.

The speakers struggled to make their points heard and had to wait, several times, for the audience to quieten down.

At one point, a small spat place happened between ANC and EFF members when each thought it was their turn to ask questions. Campus Control and members of the crowd were forced to intervene to stop the fracas from escalating.

[pullquote]”The ANC and the EFF continuously disrupted opposing supporters when questions were asked.” [/pullquote]

Despite the noise though, the debate continued and Witsies got the chance to ask questions related to the youth. Wits EFF member Tokelo Nhlapo asked about the cost of education and the lack of support given by the ANC to university students, with specific reference to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSAFAS).

great debate 2

ALL SMILES: a DA supporter expresses his pride for his party. Photo: Luke Matthews

SRC member, Jamie Mighti questioned the ANC’s credibility by asking: “If government has a good story to tell why hasn’t the ANC been able to secure this country and nation [after 20 years of democracy]”, which was cheered by both DA and EFF supporters.

The Wits Great Hall was almost filled to its capacity with a strong showing from EFF and ANC supporters who remained vocal throughout the evening.

The Great Debate series continues next week and speakers are yet to be announced.

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OPINION: A slice of Passover – The holiday of exodus

SYMBOLIC: The “Seder” plate with the different signs representing the festival of Passover. Photo: Ilanit Chernick. 

Passover or Pesach is an annual festival celebrated by the Jewish community over 7 days in April. Wits Vuvuzela journalist Ilanit Chernick shares the experience of the festival as it happens in her home. 

[hr]

As the candles sparkle on the mantelpiece we gather around and admire their beauty.

The table is set, our best cutlery and crockery laid out in order of each course, each with an accompanying Hagada (the religious text) on top. An abundance of desert wine with a seemingly equal number of glasses stand in readiness for the traditional four helpings of this sweet alcoholic treat. Each helping signifies the different levels of redemption.

Some say, “It’s the perfect opportunity to get a little drunk”. But in actual fact this is a time for family and friends to come together, to learn, reflect and grow.

We renew our spirituality, our freedom and our remembrance of trying times.

It is Passover – a festival which celebrates the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt. A tradition passed down for thousands of generations from father to son since that fateful period when the Jews were saved “by the hand of G-d (God)”.

Yet many people still question the strange and inspiring rituals the Jewish people uphold during the first two nights of this holiday period. We read from a book that talks of our history (the Hagada), churn what seems like hills of greens and horseradish in our mouths which are hard to the touch – never mind the tongue. We mix apples, nuts and wine to make a sweet paste which is spread on to the cardboard-looking thing called matzah (unleavened bread).

The seder (Hebrew word describing the order of events over the first two nights of Passover) is held as a way to teach generation after generation – young and old – of the miracles beseeched on the Jewish people during their time in slavery. It is a time to encourage the younger generation to ask questions about the historical significance of this night. The youngest at the table sings a tune in Hebrew asking “why this night is different from all other nights?” or “why on this night do we eat bitter herbs and matzah?”

[pullquote]”These words slip off our tongues like water on a hot day as we recall the story of our ancestors slavery.” [/pullquote]

Throughout this evening we examine the fascinating plate of insignia’s, talk of “the four  sons”, deliberately spill our glasses of wine as we listen to the 10 plagues and sing songs of freedom in Aramaic. These words slip off our tongues like water on a hot day as we recall the story of our ancestors’ slavery. We long for these words to come true – for the return of a time of comfort and redemption.

As the adults eat a meal filled with chicken soup and kneidelach (matza-balls), rich meats and cooling desserts, there are squeals of delight as the children search for the Afikoman (a small piece of matzah hidden to continue the process of ‘asking’). Prizes of lush chocolates or packets of coloured sweets are handed to the children for solving this little mystery. A process of bargaining, swapping and sharing treats takes place as we  proceed to eat the Afikoman.

One after the other, the children fall by the wayside on the couch or on pillows scattered on the floor as we end this night of extraordinary events with humourous songs. They prompt us to count or take us back to a time of old school plays we performed during this period of the year. We smile as we let the wine settle and sing-along to “Had Gad Ya”, a parable similar to that of the nursery rhyme “there was an old lady who swallowed a spider”. In our dazed state we make the sounds pertaining to each character and tease when anyone misses their cue.

Sooner than we’d hoped, the plague of darkness begins to settle upon the house as each of the lights go out one by one. A reminder that 1am has come and it is time for bed. As we walk our guests out we look up at the stars with awe – a blood moon has appeared – the same phenomenon which took place thousands of years ago on the night of our redemption.

Family

FAMILY TIME: The Chernick family gather together on Passover to recall our history.  Photo: Ilanit Chernick

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EFF the hell out

THE Dean of students, Dr Pamela Dube, has confirmed this week that the Economic Freedom Front (EFF) will not be recognised as a Wits student society this year.

Dube said the EFF had submitted its application too late and as a result could not be accepted as a Club and Society Organisation (CSO).

Dube said it would need to reapply to the SRC at the end of the year.

The only reason the EFF was not accepted was because of its “late submission” and not for any other reason, Dube said.

Asked to comment, EFF member Tokelo Nhlapo said not allowing the EFF to operate on Wits Campus “is against our rights according to the South African Constitution”.

“The EFF is a movement that needs no recognition from an ANC-dominated SRC,” he said.

He made it clear they will contest this decision by the SRC and dean of students in the school council. The EFF will continue to run programmes and fight for free education on the Wits campus, Nhlapo said.

[pullquote]“The EFF is a movement that needs no recognition from an ANC-dominated SRC,”[/pullquote]

“The university students have embraced the EFF and they will continue to do so. We have five members on the Law Student Council – if Sasco [the SA Student Congress] think they dominate, they must think again,” he added.
He said there was still a review pending from the vice chancellor’s office.

Nhlapo said he believed the decision by the SRC was made for political reasons and not because their application was late.

He said the EFF submitted its CSO application a day before the due date, which was November 6, 2013. The SRC denies this.

SRC officer of clubs, societies and student governance, Sarah Mokwebo said the EFF had submitted its application too late. She also said the “SRC is here to protect students and CSOs”.

“We are not fighting this out of political intolerance. If any other unapproved student movement were to come to campus and run events without permission, we would not allow them to do so either,” she said.

Mokwebo said if the EFF continued to run programmes on Wits campus the dean of students would have to deal with them directly.

Earlier this year the SRC, which is dominated by ANC affliated members was accused by its political opponents of abusing its power in office to play “dirty politics” where recognition of clubs and societies was concerned.

ilanit@witsvuvuzela.com

New Dean of Students

STUDENT AFFAIRS: Dr Pamela Dube discusses the changes in store for Students at Wits.

The new Dean of Students, Dr Pamela Dube would like the student affairs office to become “the place to go” for all student and academic issues.

She spoke with Wits Vuvuzela to discuss her new position and her aspirations for the future of Wits Student Affairs.

Dube said her priorities were solely “focused on student issues” and her aspirations for student affairs “are in alignment with the Vice Chancellors visions for transformation of 2022. I hope by 2022 students will be the centre of all decisions made at the University.”

The student affairs sector of Wits was originally part of Senate, but was later moved to its own office and finally to the operations section of the university in Senate House.

Asked about this apparent downgrading, Dube was shocked.  She said she would do everything in her power to change this. “I want to professionalise this department. I want us to go beyond babysitting students.”

Dube said her plan was to elevate the student affairs office and to make it a place where “all students from undergrad to beyond post-grad are able come to us with problems and moreover professional advice”.

She encouraged students to approach them and use the facilities on offer, such as Campus Health, CCDU and the like. “We want students to trust us. We want to be visible and market ourselves to all students as a full package.”

Dube is part of the university-wide initiative to move away from race and gender as central issues among students. She wants student affairs also to contribute and support the academic side of the university. She plans to encourage diversity and ethics in teaching and among students.

 “I also want to help students from different backgrounds to relate to each other and work in partnership.”

Dube, who is originally from KwaMakutu Township in Kwazulu-Natal, said her parents taught her the “values of focusing on the bigger picture,” and it was these values she hoped to instil within all students during her time at Wits.

“Where there’s a will there’s a way. We are trying to prepare the students for the bigger world out there.”

ilanit@witsvuvuzela.com