Project W cries foul over portfolios

Bayas’jwayela: Project W’s Jamie Mighti listens on as Progressive Youth Alliance’s  (PYA) Tebogo Thothela explains why some SRC portfolios were merged and new ones created.                                                      Photo: Ray Mahlaka

Bayas’jwayela: Project W’s Jamie Mighti listens on as Progressive Youth Alliance’s (PYA) Tebogo Thothela explains why some SRC portfolios were merged and new ones created. Photo: Ray Mahlaka

 By Emelia Motsai and Ray Mahlaka

PROJECT W has accused the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) of shutting it down in a “conniving manner” after Monday’s constitutional meeting that allocated portfolios.

PYA’s Shafee Verachia (@ShafMysta)was elected uncontested as the new SRC president and four other PYA members were voted into executive team portfolios.

Project W did not make it onto the executive team despite winning seven of 15 directly elected seats on the SRC.

The PYA won eight seats but has an additional four seats on the SRC which were elected indirectly.

 Consulting SRC portfolio

Project W’s Jamie Mighti (@thenextbarack)said they came to the PYA “with open arms but we were shut down in a systemic, ruthless and conniving manner. Bayas’jwayela [they are disrespecting us]”.

Project W ‘s Jabulile Mabuza (@ceejaymabuza) said it was “clear that they don’t want to work with us”. She said they had been sidelined and called it an “insult to democracy”.

“You are saying people can do whatever they want as long as you have one more vote,” Mabuza said.

Comrades discuss politics via Whatsapp

Wits Vuvuzela was given a copy of a Whatsapp group conversation between some Project W members and the PYA deployment committee made up of current and former SRC members. [pullquote align=”right”]“We would desire Mighti Jamie for the position of VP [vice president] and Jabulile Mabuza for deputy secretary-general,”[/pullquote]

In the conversation, Mighti was asked which portfolios Project W members wanted and who they wanted in those positions. Mighti said Project W wanted himself and Mabuza in executive positions.

“We would desire Mighti Jamie for the position of VP [vice president] and Jabulile Mabuza for deputy secretary-general,” he said.

Mighti said Project W wanted those positions because it would give them representation in meetings only available to members of the executive team.

“We would also be able to put our views to these decision-making bodies [senate, council and convocation].”
SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa (@Sibulele_) asked Mighti: “May I ask: does it matter if [Project] W is not in exec? Will it affect their performance in SRC?”

Mighti responded: “I definitely think it will send the message that our say is not valuable to the decision-making process, we would like a voice at the very least in the university structures.”

Mighti warned that excluding Project W would “create an atmosphere of adversity, in that it is the PYA executive versus the Project W candidates, this may lead to more fractious relations over time.”

Divvying up SRC portfolios

Two new SRC portfolios were created and some were merged. Mighti said they were not consulted on this.

“They came to the meeting, merged all the positions that you think are powerful, not because they are trying to be benevolent but because they are trying to monopolise power,” Mighti told Wits Vuvuzela.

[pullquote]“They came to the meeting, merged all the positions that you think are powerful, not because they are trying to be benevolent but because they are trying to monopolise power”[/pullquote] He accused the PYA of merging positions because they ran out of candidates for the portfolios believed to be influential.

PYA deployment committee member Tebogo Thothela denied Project W’s allegations and said the new portfolios were created regularly.

Thothela said they had spoken to Project W members to ask them which portfolios they would want.

Verachia also defended the portfolio assignments: “A lot of thought went into the portfolios,” he said.

Verachia said Project W’s disappointment was because they may have been “ambitious of the portfolios they wanted”.

Working dynamics between Project W and PYA

Mabuza and Mighti were assigned to the two new portfolios, of campus liaison officer and day student liaison officer respectively. Both said they would do their best to serve students in those portfolios.

Verachia said unifying the team would not happen “over night” but he was ready for the job ahead: “It’s a huge responsibility and I am up for the challenge.”

Related articles

SRC to divvy up the spoils, September 13, 2013

SRC President announced: The winner takes it all, September 17, 2013

WITH GALLERY: SRC election results – PYA gets a wakeup call, August 30, 2013