Former Wits SRC member Jamie Mighti walked out of a Wits town hall earlier today after he found himself in a shouting match with VC Adam Habib.
A Wits town hall ended in tension earlier today after a shouting match between Vice Chancellor Prof Adam Habib and former SRC member Jamie Mighti, with the latter leaving the room when the argument reached a boiling point.
During the town hall, Mighti shouted his suggestion from the back of the room that Habib should order police to protect Wits students in Braamfontein, Habib shouted back that this was illegal for him to do.
Mighti insisted that the University of Johannesburg has such initiatives in place. Habib responded that it’s the responsibility of the municipality to do that.
The two parties then had a shouting match, with both accusing the other was ‘lying’.
Mighti said that Habib “Should stop lying to the students.” Mighti, who was wearing an Student Representative Council blazer, told all present that he is no longer a member of the SRC.
After the publicly heated argument, Mighti and several other students left the Senate Room. Habib continued with the meeting.
SRC president Shaeera Kalla told Wits Vuvuzela, “Town hall meetings for me are a space where things can really get unproductive, close to election time you find that parties come and want to have the loudest voice or the loudest bark.”
Kalla said she doesn’t appreciate students walking out like that, because they’ve come here to engage. “It’s a common tendency sometimes that when things don’t go your way to walk out, it’s a bit cowardly. But I do appreciate the input, and I think it’s fair to have input of that nature. The vice chancellor should be accountable and I really don’t think its professional of him to scream at students like that. There must be respectful engagement from both sides,” said Kalla.
On addressing the issue of Wits students safety outside of the university, Habib said he cannot control neighbourhoods surrounding student residences, such as Esselen residence in Hillbrow. “I don’t have the authority to look after Hilbrow,” he said. Habib added that he believed Esselen residence should be closed down.
Related articles: Jamie Mighti resigns from Wits SRC
The reasons for Jamie Mighti’s resignation has attracted much attention on the Wits University campus this week. In Mighti’s resignation letter to Wits Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adam Habib, he highlighted “irregularities” within the SRC as his reasons for resigning, however there are other reasons which the student body feel may have influenced Mighti’s decision.
Conflict and controversy has surrounded the news of Jamie Mighti’s resignation from the SRC which was made public at the beginning of the week.
Mighti, stepped down as the SRC’s campus wellness officer with immediate effect on July 3 and notified Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib in a letter, which was given to Wits Vuvuzela on Tuesday evening.
In the letter, Mighti said he had lost confidence in the SRC and accused the student council of “several irregularities” including not meeting for several months and mismanaging funds.
Mighti also said he had lost confidence in Vice Chancellor Adam Habib and “his ability and interest in ensuring a functional student body.”
SRC MEANS BUSINESS: Acting SRC president , Shaeera Kalla said they are dealing with the resignation of Jamie Mighti, however students need to be served, so business will carry on as usual. Photo: Riante Naidoo
Shaeera Kalla, acting president of the SRC, told Wits Vuvuzela. “No one knows the true reason behind why Jamie has resigned.” However, Kalla said she believed Mighti was facing disciplinary charges related to an accusation of sexual harassment. Kalla added that neither she nor the SRC was aware of the status of the charge.
“We’re in the dark like everyone else,” Kalla said.
Kalla could not confirm whether Mighti was resigning because of the disciplinary charges “but I think logic would lead to that … If I were in his position I would do that,” she said.
Wits University spokesperson, Shirona Patel, said the university was aware of Mighti’s resignation and confirmed that he was the subject of an investigation but declined to offer further details.
“We can confirm that the University is investigating a matter concerning him but at this stage we are not at liberty to disclose any further details regarding this matter,” Patel said.
Mighti declined to comment to Wits Vuvuzela about his disciplinary hearing.
In his resignation letter, Mighti accused the SRC of failing to meet for several months and said executive SRC members “took decisions which were beyond their constitutional powers”. He also accused the SRC of misusing funds.
“It is my view that the VC was biased in failing to act against Shaeera Kalla and her compatriots within the PYA [Progressive Youth Alliance],” he said in the letter.
Kalla, said she disputes Mighti’s accusations and had a “very fundamental problem” with his claims.
“There was a formal investigation done by [Deputy Vice Chancellor] Prof Tawana Kupe and none of those accusations were true,” she said.
In a report on the investigation that was given to Wits Vuvuzela, the university found that the SRC had not held some meetings nor kept minutes in line with its own constitution. However, it said there was “no evidence of misappropriation or misuse of funds”.
Kalla said Mighti’s resignation was something the SRC has to deal with “but to be honest business goes on as usual as students need to be served”.
She believes the university is “under pressure” because former SRC president, Mcebo Dlamini, was found guilty of a disciplinary charge and “to the outside world it seemed the processes were sped up” for him. “Now there’s another one awaiting his outcome,” she said.
Kalla said the SRC did not tolerate wrongdoing by student leaders: “We condemn any misconduct on behalf of a student leader because the SRC constitution is clear on that and leadership must be held accountable at all times,” she added.
“Our responsibilities are not to Jamie or Mcebo, they are to students,” Kalla said. “I think it’s ridiculous that people think the world must stop because of people like them. There are 31 000 students at Wits, we’ve really got no time for this.”
Jamie Mighti, a member of the Wits SRC has resigned. The reasons for his resignation are currently unknown. Mighti has held leadership positions in the SRC and debating union since 2013.
Rumours have been put to rest as the resignation of Jamie Mighti, Wits SRC’s campus wellness officer, was confirmed earlier today.
“It’s true that Jamie has resigned,” acting SRC president Shaeera Kalla told Wits Vuvuzela.
It is believed his resignation was handed in last week however the reasons are still unclear.
Mighti was initially voted into the SRC in 2013 elections. Mighti ran for re-election last year and was successful, receiving the highest number of votes.
IN-FIGHTING at the SRC has spilled over into a formal complaint to the university management.
LEADER NOT SATISFIED: Jamie Mighti has laid a formal complaint against the SRC Executive. Photo: File
A formal complaint has been laid by Project W leader Jamie Mighti against executive members of the SRC for mismanagement of funds and an audit and internal investigation are underway.
In a letter given to the Wits Vuvuzela, Mighti has written a letter to the Vice Chancellor to lay a formal complaint about the irregularities that have been taking place with the running of the SRC.
It has also been brought to the attention of the Wits Vuvuzela, Project W is also requesting an audit of the SRC’s finances for the last three years.
It is alleged that “serious chunks of money” are missing. Along with this, Project W will also be pressing charges of “abuse of power and corruption”.
Shaeera Kalla, deputy president of the SRC and executive member, dismissed the claims made by Mighti as “entirely false” and stated that the first quarter report of the SRC will outline exactly what the situation with the SRC’s finances is.
“I cannot comment at this stage given that the process is in the hands of Prof Tawana and legal office.”
Project W, a group that makes up less than half of the SRC with six members out of the elected 15, has written a letter to the vice chancellor’s office in which the SRC’s executive is being accused of not following procedure, among other things. The executive is made of Progressive Youth Alliance members.
Mighti has requested that an internal investigation and audit into the financial management of SRC funds be launched.
Some of Mighti’s allegations include:
- That the SRC has not had a formal meeting since November 2014
- The SRC’s executive has been making important decisions outside of the rest of the SRC
- Procurement processes have not been followed in the purchasing of certain items
- That there has been unequal allocation of funds to certain portfolios in the SRC with some portfolios being allocated stipends of R5000 whilst others have been allocated nothing.
Mighti also alleged that a Frat house that was renovated as part of the fraternity/sorority programme for day students, that cost an estimated R500 000, has not been opened. The space, which is attached to the DJ du Plessis building on West Campus, was meant to be launched late last year but is yet to be opened due to what he believes is “in fighting” in the SRC.
The letter was sent to Vice Chancellor Adam Habib, Dean of Students Dr Pamela Dube and the legal office’s Dawn Taylor.
When contacted for comment, Dube said:
“I cannot comment at this stage given that the process is in the hands of Prof Tawana and legal office.”
Project W has distanced themselves from SRC hosted Pro-Palestine events which they believe is part of a misuse of the SRC office.
Project W, one of the political organisations making up the Student Representative Council (SRC), have distanced themselves from pro-Palestinian events hosted by the student council.
The events were held in collaboration with the City of Johannesburg during Palestine Week at the end of March.
As part of Palestine Week a delegation from Ramallah, a Palestinian city in the central West Bank, visited Johannesburg and met with Mayor Parks Tau. One of the events took place at Wits University where guest speaker Dr Husam Zomlot was invited to give a presentation on Palestine.
But Project W’s Jamie Mighti said it was inappropriate for the SRC to host a pro-Palestinian event and should stay “neutral” on issues like Israel-Palestine.
“The SRC is a parliament for the university, we’re supposed to oversee student structures and stay as neutral as we possibly can,” said Mighti, the SRC campus health and wellness officer.
He said the SRC had only held one meeting up to Palestine Week. The SRC’s hosting of the event and Tau’s visit had not been discussed by all SRC members.
“So you can imagine my surprise as a member of the SRC, to find out that the SRC is hosting the mayor and that the president of the SRC is representing the SRC in this discussion,” said Mighti.
SRC president Mcebo Dlamini, a member of the majority Progressive Youth Alliance, declined to comment on Mighti’s accusations.
“Basically there is nothing to comment on,” Dlamini said.
SRC DISPUTE: Project W’s Jamie Mighti claims the SRC budget is being mismanaged. Photo: Nqobile Dludla
Project W alleged this week that the SRC budget is being mismanaged by the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA). Both SRC deputy-president Shaeera Kalla and head of the Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU), Lamese Abrahams denied this.
Project W’s Jamie Mighti told Wits Vuvuzela there has been “no transparency” with the SRC budget allocation. According to two previous SRC treasurers, the SRC budget is supposed to be allocated and submitted to SDLU by the last week of February.
“The SRC have not even met yet to discuss it,” Jamie said. He claimed that PYA SRC members had already allocated budgets for their own portfolios during “PYA internal caucuses’”.
“They are deliberately excluding Project W SRC members,” he said, “We have been asking for three weeks now to have a meeting about the portfolio budgets but every time we schedule several SRC members deliberately don’t show up.”
Mighti also said the budget is mostly funded by student fees “so they have the right to objectivity and to see how it is being used which is not what is happening here”.
Deputy president of the SRC Shaeera Kalla said the only reason the SRC hasn’t met yet “is because we have all been busy with the One Million One Month campaign”.
“It’s just a matter of sitting down and working things out,” she said.
“There is no mismanagement of the budget. The only event it has been used for is O-Week.”
Mighti also put forward a claim that the annual vacation stipends given to SRC members were not allocated properly and the process was “corrupt”.
He said that some members of the SRC had given themselves R10 000 whereas others had received zero.
Abrahams said these claims were “inaccurate” and that there had only been “one appeal” about the SRC stipend issue “which has been dealt with accordingly”.
“This is not true. SDLU has complete oversight over both the budget and stipends,” she said, “It is checked all the time, twice or even three times over.”
“There is no action plan here. We are stuck and if the budget issue isn’t dealt with, we will have to take it to the dean or the VC,” Mighti said.
WORK IT: First year BSc student Neo Khokhone stretches her work out
partner during bootcamp. Photo: Ilanit Chernick
Wits SRC campus wellness officer Jamie Mighti has challenged Witsies to “get fit” with the SRC’s fitness campaign.
The campaign, which launched on Monday in conjunction with Virgin Active aims to combat obesity and unhealthy lifestyles amongst students, and features a three-week fitness progam.
“We are trying to save lives and create long term longevity of Witsies,” Mighti said.
He encouraged Witsies to join the three-week exercise program as a way of enriching their lives and to create discipline.
“Gyming consistently creates a discipline that will trickle down into both your academic and social life,” he said.
Mighti told Wits Vuvuzela that students are careless about their health and fitness.
“It’s in our twenties when we mold our bodies. We pick up bad habits like smoking, drinking and reckless sex which can affect us for the rest of our lives.”
Mighti encouraged all students both fit and unfit to join because “something is better than nothing”.
“So far we’ve seen around 50 students attend the fitness training but we want to push this to at least 300 students.”
“It’s in our twenties when we mold our bodies. We pick up bad habits like smoking, drinking and reckless sex which can affect us for the rest of our lives.”
His vision together with the SRC is to see Wits becoming the “healthiest university in the world.”
Promoting healthy eating and engagement with physical, emotional and social wellness are on the agenda for this year.
“Wellness is going to be a massive criteria for the university. We want happy and healthy students on our campus.”
Mighti is also working on a “shared bicycle” initiative, which sees students being able to ride bikes around campus to different lecture halls especially when they are far from each other.
By the beginning of the second quarter, Mighti hopes that there will be at least 50 bikes on campus available for students to share-ride and use around campus.
Healthy eating on campus is also a major concern for Mighti. “We need to create a conscious awareness about healthy food especially at the vendors and the food halls at residence.”
“The university hasn’t been serious about health issues and it is time they walk-the-walk. They must take initiatives to improve health on our campus,” he said.
The fitness program will be taking place for the next two weeks on Monday and Friday from 6.30 am to 7.30 am on the Library Lawns.
Project W members of the Wits SRC (Students Representatives Council) have rejected a decision by the vice-chancellor (VC) about portfolio allocations and will continue to contest the outcome of the process.
Wits VC Prof Adam Habib has ostensibly put an end to the ongoing student leadership spat between Project W and the PYA (Progressive Youth Alliance) by endorsing the recent portfolio allocations but Project W say they will not accept the positions allocated to them.
All members of the SRC were informed of the VC’s decision via a letter on Wednesday but in response Jamie Mighti of Project W said, “We are unavailable to serve in sham portfolios and remain of the view that they were not in the interests of students and are thus unconstitutional.”
According to the response, sent in an email to the Dean of Students, Dr Pamela Dube, Project W said they “cannot serve in portfolios created without our consent and consultation. We will not therefore be taking up those specific portfolio allocations.”
Project W have notified the University that they “will be seeking further recourse from the student body through a referendum as well as through various other platforms both legal and otherwise.”
“We are unavailable to serve in sham portfolios”
On Friday, October 3, Project W walked out of a meeting of the SRC once again, arguing that ‘the best interests of the students are not being considered by the PYA in the portfolios that they are trying to bully the SRC into adopting”, according to Mighti.
“There is a continuing attempt by the PYA to create white elephant portfolios within the SRC to undermine the ability of Project W to serve the students and to attempt to emasculate the organisation’s longevity at the university,” he said.
Mighti added that “A cost benefit analysis of the portfolios proposed by both parties reflects the malice and bad faith of the PYA, as well as illustrating that they have little concern about student problems.”
Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela on behalf of the PYA, Sasco chairperson Nompendulo Mkatshwa said: “We are receptive of Prof Habib’s endorsement of the list as re-constituted on Friday, 3 October 2014 as requested by colleagues of Project W. It cannot be that the leadership of students is held ransom by the lack of understanding of democratic centralism by others. It is unfair to the movement we are in – a movement driven by the interest of students.”
Mkatshwa said the portfolios of the SRC elect are in no way exclusive of the development and progress that ought to be achieved by the SRC in the interest of students.
“Now that Prof Habib has endorsed the list, those that want to lead can finally begin doing what students voted for them to do. Not everyone got the office they may have dreamed of, from executive to the last portfolio holder however, a good leader will always make the best of what they are given”, said Mkatshwa.
The VC’s intervention in the tussle between the SRC members, is based on Clause 30 (1) of the SRC Constitution which provides that: “After due notice of its failure to carry out any function or duty, should the SRC continue to fail in carrying out any of its functions or duties, the vice-chancellor has the power to carry out any such function or duty in the spirit and manner prescribed in this Constitution.”
“Having outlined the University’s position, I would like to consider this matter resolved and look forward to working with the new Student Representative Council”, said Habib in his letter.
The 2014/2015 Students Representative Council
1. Mcebo Dlamini, President
2. Shaeera Kalla, Deputy President
3 . Senzekahle Mbokazi, General Secretary
4 . Amogelang Manganyi, Deputy Secretary General
5 . Mthuthuzeli Mahlangu, Treasurer
6 . Tanya Otto, International Students Affairs
7 . Gwinyai Dube, Strategic Planning
8 . Omhle Ntshingila, Clubs, Societies & Organizations And Student Governance
9 . Waseem Talia, Student and Legal Services
10. Jamie Mighti, Campus Wellness
11 . Fasiha Hassan, Academic
12 . Kabelo Murray, Social and Community Development
13 . Thamsanqa Pooe, Transformation
14 . Enhle Khumalo, Research and Policy
15 . Blaise Koetsie, Projects, Media and Campaigns
IT’S PYA DAY: Project W’s Jamie Mighti (left) attempts to argue a point to PYA member and former SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa (right) after Project W walked out of the SRC’s first meeting over the selection of portfolios. Mgudlwa attempted to bring Project W back to the meeting. Photo: Nqobile Dludla
by Ilanit Chernick and Nqobile Dludla
The abrupt end of the new SRC’s first meeting, which climaxed with a dramatic walkout by Project W who accused the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) of being “illegitimate and undemocratic”, followed a week of behind-the-scenes battles over positions on the new council.
Project W walked out during the vote for new portfolios, which they said were decided without their input by the PYA—who have a majority of the seats on the new SRC.
The vote carried on with PYA member Mcebo Dlamini being elected as the new SRC president.
However, while the PYA presented a united front at the SRC meeting, the decision to select Dlamini and other SRC executive committee members was far from unanimous.
“There are also older comrades in the PYA who influence the decisions on the presidential candidate and the executive committee. The process is increasingly frustrating,”
Wits Vuvuzela spoke to leaders in the PYA, who confirmed the alliance struggled to make a decision on who should be elected to the important executive positions. All the PYA leaders requested anonymity because they were not authorised to speak on internal alliance politics.
According to one PYA leader, there was a struggle to decide between three presidential choices, Dlamini, Amogelang Manganyi, and Senzekahle Mbokazi with disagreement over their different levels of experience and ability to carry out their duties.
Some PYA members believed Dlamini was the strongest candidate because of his position as Wits Junction chair despite a controversy earlier this year over his false claim to be a member of the prestigious Sisulu family.
“People want Mcebo despite controversies surrounding him in the Sisulu question,” the PYA leader said.
According to this PYA leader, Mangayani’s suitability as a SRC president was questioned because he is currently a fifth-year medical student and would face time constraints next year that would affect his ability to meet presidential duties.
This process of selecting executive members of the SRC was made more complicated by senior PYA leaders outside the current SRC attempting to influence the selection of positions.
“There are also older comrades in the PYA who influence the decisions on the presidential candidate and the executive committee. The process is increasingly frustrating,” the PYA leader said. He declined to name the senior PYA members involved.
However, a second PYA leader interviewed by Wits Vuvuzela denied that lobby groups within the alliance had been allowed to form.
“The PYA don’t squabble,” the second PYA leader said, “We meet as a collective. Those members with experience try to advise or give opinions when choosing candidates for exec or president but things change all the time.”
However, this PYA leader admitted the alliance had little control groups and friends within the PYA who form “behind closed doors” and who have decided on backing their own candidates.
“But we call all members of the PYA together to decide who should be presidential candidate. We decide and solve these issues together,” the PYA leader said.
The politicking within the PYA ended with Wednesday’s meeting and the walkout by Project W.
Wits Vuvuzela had initially been denied access to the portfolio meeting. However, after a short conference between Project W’s Jamie Mighti and outgoing SRC president Shafee Verachia she was allowed in “as a student” so long as she put away her camera and voice recorder.
The meeting was held in Senate House and chaired by Verachia. It was attended by 14 of the 15 newly elected SRC members. Also in attendance were representatives from other Wits student councils and three members of the current SRC.
The meeting was also attended by former SRC and PYA members Sibulele Mgudlwa, Joyce Phiri and Tshepo Ndlovu, Ntshembo Vuma and Thabang Ntshanana. A Project W member, Zuhayr Tayob, was also in attendance.
The meeting first voted for the executive positions, including president, with PYA members taking the top five slots with little protest from Project W.
“What do they expect me to do, teach yoga?”
However, 20 minutes into the meeting an argument erupted during a debate over portfolios. Both the PYA and Project W had proposed new portfolios for the SRC and motivated for them during the meeting.
Verachia then moved to have a vote on the portfolios, however Mighti objected saying there should be an open debate over the proposed portfolios before the vote.
Verachia responded that both organisations had already motivated for the proposed portfolios and further debate was not needed.
After another brief exchange between the participants, Verachia again moved for a vote resulting in the Project W members gathering their belongings and walking out of the meeting.
“We walked out because it was an illegitimate forum. They are not allowed to dictate positions to us, and this was an unjust abuse of power,” Mighti said.
Verachia adjourned the meeting after the walkout and Mgudlwa successfully attempted to convince the Project W members to return to the meeting. Verachia then cited SRC rules governing meetings and reconvened the meeting with the remaining SRC members.
“The PYA have chosen to dictate positions to us instead. Positions which we will not agree too because they are redundant white elephants which is a betrayal to students’ needs,” Mighti said.
Mighti, who was made the Campus Wellness officer, said his position was redundant because there were already university structures to help student health.
“What do they expect me to do, teach yoga?” he asked.
Mighti said they would lay a complaint about the meeting with university authorities. Failing that, they would seek an interdict at the South Gauteng High Court to overturn the outcome of the meeting.
Vice-chancellor Prof Adam Habib said he was “gathering information” about the situation.
Verachia said the PYA were preparing a statement in response to Project W’s walkout and subsequent accusations. However, it had not been sent to Wits Vuvuzela as of our print deadline.
Turnout for the SRC elections dropped to about 23% this year over a two-day voting period, falling slightly short of the organiser’s target.
The SRC Election Office had set a goal of 25% of student participation for the 2014 election. However, organisers said they were pleased with the result despite falling short.
“We definitely did better this year with 23.1% over two days in comparison to 24% in three days last year… We’re happy with the percentage we received,” said deputy chief electoral officer Nicole Msomi.
However, Msomi conceded that turnout could have been better, “There’s always room for improvement.”
Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) candidate Mcebo Dlamini said that the low turnout of students to vote is due to the lack of advertising from the election office saying “it’s not doing its job”.
However, Dlamini added that student leaders also had responsibility for political apathy and low turnout among the student community.
“Student activism in the university went down drastically…which means we are no longer relevant to the students, we are losing the masses,” he said.
Msomi believes that her office did its job and that it was up to the candidates to promote themselves and their parties.
“The IEC is responsible for putting up banners and letting students know how to vote, we also gave out booklets. The candidates market for their parties.”
Dlamini said he had heard “funny” reasons for students not voting: “The funniest reason I got was that, “I am doing mathematics, thus I don’t vote” but most generally, people complain of the queue or that they are busy and others just say, “I’m not into politics” but others don’t understand why people have to vote, they just don’t see the reason why they have to vote.”
However, Project W candidate Jamie Mighti believes that students understand the importance of voting but the reasons why they choose not to vote is due to the way student politics play out as a “theatre of the absurd”.
“We have turned politics into theatre of the absurd, students are genuinely concerned about the issues, [but] when they see their leaders playing politics with their lives they get on with their daily business.”
Despite the low number and demotivation of some students to vote, some Wities understood the importance of voting.
Mzwanele Ntswanti 2nd year actuarial science, said, “It’s important to vote regardless of who to vote for, it is a right that we should all protect. Some students are not voting because they are indifferent between the three organisations, others are based on religious beliefs and other do not understand.”
The SRC election results will be announced on Thursday afternoon on the Great Hall steps.
The SRC has agreed to review the decision to refuse recognition to Project W but the new organisation is already complaining the process is a “fruitless” exercise.
Project W’s Jamie Mighti complained that the process, which began with a meeting on Wednesday, will be unlikely to reverse the initial decision, made by the Progressive Youth Alliance-led SRC.
Earlier this month, Wits Vuvuzela reported that Project W and Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had been refused official recognition as clubs and societies by the SRC. Both organisations said their exclusion was politically motivated.
[pullquote]“So what is the point of having a review, if you are not going to review and if you are not actually going to follow the letter of the rules,”[/pullquote]
The decision to exclude them is now being reviewed by the SRC.Dean of Students Pamela Dube told Wits Vuvuzela the SRC had “committed themselves to providing an opportunity for the relevant CSO’s[clubs and societies] to present themselves following the dissatisfaction with the outcome of the Initial process,” she said.
A pre determined outcome?
But Project W SRC member Jamie Mighti, claimed the process will be a “fruitless”exercise because SRC clubs and societies officer Sarah Mokwebo declared at the Wednesday meeting about appeal process that “I’ve already made my rulings and I’m going to stand by them” “So what is the point of having a review, if you are not going to review and if you are not actually going to follow the letter of the rules,”Mighti said.
“We’re going to make presentations before three or four SRC members, but only one [Mokwebo] decides what happens and makes recommendations. The one person who makes recommendations is the very same person who declined the societies in the first place,” said Mighti.
Mokwebo told Wits Vuvuzela that she could not respond to allegations made against her since it was an “internal matter”. She referred questions to SRC president Shafee Verachia and SRC secretary Michlene Mongae. Verachia said he was in meetings and could not comment. Mongae did not reply to requests for comment.
Even if Project W is refused recognition, they may still have a reprieve Dube said the final endorsement of the SRC’s decision on clubs and societies would come from her office with some input from the vice-chancellor’s office.
[pullquote align=”right”]“We were told that if we didn’t reach quorum, we would just make recommendations to the SRC, but how can we make a recommendation to ourselves?”[/pullquote]
Wits EFF member Tokelo Nhlapo said they were not aware of the review process and would not participate in it since they were not invited to by the SRC. Instead, they would be appeal directly to the dean of students.
Project W SRC member Jabulile Mabuza told Wits Vuvuzela that the meeting the SRC held on Wednesday to review applications was problematic. She said the meetings did not have a quorum and so could not take decisions, only make recommendation.“We were told that if we didn’t reach quorum, we would just make recommendations to the SRC, but how can we make a recommendation to ourselves?”she asked.
Ghost form 6
She added that new forms needed to apply and not been provided to Project W. The form in question “Form 6” was not given to Project W at their initial application.
Mabuza added that the form does not exist, “Nobody knows where it is, or who has it,” she said. Mighti said that Project W would still make their presentation despite their complaints with the process. “We will follow their broken system, but we will point out that their system is broken,” he said.
[pullquote]”Some of these people have political ambitions to lead ANC provincial structures, so they want to be seen to be shutting down the ANC’s opponents,” Nhlapo said.[/pullquote]
APPLICATION DENIED: Vuyani Pambo, chairperson of Wits EFF, was upset by the SRC overplaying their hand. Photo: Nomatter Ndebele
ACCUSATIONS that the SRC is abusing its powers against political opponents have resulted in a review by the vice chancellor’s office.
The SRC, which is led by the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), is responsible for officially recognizing Wits clubs and societies, including political organizations.
Two political organizations, Project W and Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), have been refused recognition.
Both organizations have appealed their rejections and accuse the PYA of playing dirty politics.
Dean of Students Pamela Dube confirmed the SRC would hear the appeal and the vice-chancellor’s office “is looking into reviewing the process by which [clubs and societies] are approved.”
SRC secretary Michlene Mongae declined to comment to Wits Vuvuzela on the accusations.
Jamie Mighti, a Project W SRC member, said the PYA did not follow correct procedure during the application process.
“The SRC must give applicants a model constitution to fill it, but they didn’t do that,” said Mighti. He said Project W’s constitution was later rejected by the SRC because it was not in line with the model.
According to Mighti, new clubs and societies must appear at an SRC general meeting as a final step before being officially recognized or rejected.
But he said this was not done for new clubs.[pullquote]”Some of these people have political ambitions to lead ANC provincial structures, so they want to be seen to be shutting down the ANC’s opponents,” Nhlapo said.[/pullquote]
Mighti accused SRC president Shafee Verachia and Club and Society portfolio holder Sarah Mokwebo of making the decision to reject new clubs without consultations.
The SRC is made up of eight PYA members and six Project W members.
Project W accused the PYA members of the SRC of “banning” them to stop it from interacting with students during O-week.
Chairperson of Wits EFF, Vuyani Pambo, said their organisation applied two days before the application closing date but they did not even appear on the list of clubs and societies who had applied.
“It was as if we never applied,” Pambo said.
He said that when Wits EFF inquired about why they were not on the list, they were given contradictory explanations.
SRC internal vice president internal Paul Ndiweni said they applied late while Mokwebo said they had not applied at all.
Former SRC vice president Tokelo Nhlapo, who defected from the PYA to Wits EFF last year, also agreed that proper procedure had not been followed.
“The SRC is simply a ceremonial structure. It does not follow constitutional obligations,” he said.
“Some of these people have political ambitions to lead ANC provincial structures, so they want to be seen to be shutting down the ANC’s opponents,” Nhlapo said.
The PYA is an alliance between the ANC Youth League, Muslim Students Association and South African Students Congress.
PYA-EFF spat leaves disabled students out in the cold, February 7, 2014
SRC to divvy up the spoils, September 13, 2013