#FEESMUSTFALL movement distances itself from SRC president
Members of #FeesMustFall are adamant that Wits SRC President Nompendulo Mkhatshwa does not speak for the entire movement.
Members of #FeesMustFall are adamant that Wits SRC President Nompendulo Mkhatshwa does not speak for the entire movement.
Wits SRC president threatened to leave during her interview on Checkpoint broadcast on eNCA.
THE #IAmConstitution debate brought forth issues students have with South Africa’s Constitution on Tuesday night.
The #Access campaign launced by the Wits SRC has raised over R2.6-million and attracted the attention of celebrities like DJ Sbu.
The Wits SRC’s #Access campaign for students who cannot pay fees has raised over R2.6-million and attracted endorsements from local celebrities such as DJ Sbu.
“DJ Sbu has agreed to endorse the Access campaign … Sbu along with the SRC will be participating in his fund raising event on Sunday,” according to Wits SRC secretary general Fasiha Hassan. The details of the endorsement are still under discussion.
Hassan said that some of the proceeds from DJ Sbu’s Annual SLEF Benefit Concert will go towards the #Access campaign with the details still to be ironed out.
This comes after the Wits SRC launched the #Access fundraiser at the university’s welcome day for first-year students. The campaign aims to raise R10-million by the end February for the “missing middle”—students who don’t qualify for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) but still cannot afford tuition.
Hassan said the SRC is hoping to raise enough money to help at least 8 000 students with not only tuition but also necessities such as accommodation and transport.
“It’s one thing to get them into the system but it’s another to get them out successfully … we are aiming to look at this holistically,” said Hassan.
“They are students who are too poor to be rich and too rich to be poor … these are children of teachers, nurses and policemen,” said SRC president Nompendulo Mkatshwa at the welcome day.
The fundraiser includes Fill the Jar, pledges forms, donations and the proceeds gained from O-week events, such as Beer Garden, Freshers Party and the Flea Market, will go towards the humanitarian fund. “People think that O-week is about ‘party party party’, let me tell you something O-week is not about that. It’s about raising funds for students. Party with a purpose,” said Mkatshwa
Another key focus to the initiative is the corporate challenge where they hope to encourage big business to donate. At the launch R2-million was donated by Nedbank to start kick start the initiative. Mkatshwa implored not only students and parents to donate but also corporate and other professionals. “We challenge other corporate to bless us, be our ‘blessers’,” said Mkatshwa. Other corporate donation include R600 000 from Abbotts Laboratories.
Last year the Wits SRC raised R4.4-million for the One million One Month campaign to assist students who were affected by the NSFAS shortfall crisis.
In an interview on Wednesday with Wits Vuvuzela, Mkatshwa said the SRC wanted to expand access to education towards every academically qualified student.
“The Wits SRC seeks to ensure that every single academically deserving child gains access to this institution and succeeds in this institution …We need the masses of our people skilled and knowledgeable in order for us to create the type of growth that will create socioeconomic equality and justice in South Africa,” said Mkatshwa.
However, Hassan acknowledged that even if the SRC meets its goal of R10-million, it will still not be enough to help all of the students in need of funding for their tertiary education.
“No amount of funding is enough,” said Hassan.
This initiative comes in the wake of the Fees Must Fall protests that spread to other campuses across the country at the end of last year when students demanded a 0% fee increase and an end to outsourcing.
“#Access is an evolution of Fees Must Fall,” said Hassan.
Just two weeks ago the newest SRC president was elected at this year’s PYA Branch General Meeting. Nompendulo Mkatshwa (22), affectionately known as Ulo has been chosen to sit on the Wits throne that allows her the power to push student agenda’s and politics.
As the newest president, are you excited or are you nervous about your new appointment?
It is a huge responsibility and I am humbled. Together with my collectives and the PYA. Remember we have a huge backing, there are four organisations that will back us up in anything that we do and we will deliver as the PYA and the SRC. Our prime being in this institution is to deliver to students, why else would we then have a PYA and SRC? We are the voice of students.
What is your first and most important concern as you enter the role of president of the SRC?
My term will officially begin in November, and I think by then one of the biggest challenges the campus will be faced with will be students writing their exams. To ensure that all students are supported in whatever manner they can, we are readily available to consult any student that needs to consult and [after the exams] when results have come out and students have written their exams, we will ensure that we are here as the PYA and we’ll be here during the holidays to ensure that we represent all students that the institution excludes from itself academically and financially.
In light of the EFF members who were subsequently suspended from the elections, do you think that in any way made PYA an obvious choice for students to vote for?
One may say that a PYA vote is a vote that can be shared with the EFF as well, however speaking as someone who was observing how elections were going, I still think the PYA was going to come out victorious as it did, because at the end of the day students have always had faith in the PYA and we are humbled by that; and it’s not because we are arrogant, it’s because we try our best and we are as authentic as we can be.
As a female president are you going to consciously adopt a feminist approach in pushing women agendas in how you discuss things?
As a gender activist I have my own reasons as to why I don’t want to be called a feminist, because I’ve been called a feminist over and over again and I’m fine with it really but, I refer to myself as a gender activist for various reasons around how there’s a lot of blurred lines around feminist terms, characterization of terminology, and I so want to be part of the revolution that will seek to consolidate all feminists through the best way possible. So, yes I am a gender activist, I believe in the emancipation of all genders in society.
Then what do you advocate for concerning gender related issues?
I advocate for the engagement and deliberations of issues of LGBTQIA; strongly so because we also reduce the discussion of gender to man and women and that’s not where it is, we talking about everyone.
Nompendulo Mkatshwa and the various members of the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) were officially constituted despite false claims that Mkatshwa was not elected as president by branch general meeting (BGM).
Friday saw the official constituting of the Wits SRC of 2016, despite a false allegation that a PYA BGM was opposed to the selection of Nompendulo Mkatshwa as president.
A media statement was circulated on Friday morning on PYA letterhead stating that the BGM did not elect Mkatshwa as president, later it was found to be a false claim.
Mkatshwa told Wits Vuvuzela that it was not PYA BGM who made those allegations but in fact ‘opportunistic individuals’ who decided to step outside of the democratic electoral process.
“Those are just individuals, that’s not PYA, those are opportunistic individuals who are just trying to disorganise the organisation, and we’re not going to allow that thing to happen,” said Mkatshwa.
Mkatshwa stressed that the PYA deals with matters internally, and will deal with this particular matter. She said that any individuals who spoke outside of the BGM did not want to respect democratic centralism.
On Thursday morning the PYA announced the various portfolio members of the SRC, and yesterday at 5pm the new members were officially sworn in.
Mkatshwa told Wits Vuvuzela about how she feels about being elected as president, “Being bestowed with the responsibility of leading students is the most humbling thing that anyone can go through or experience.”
On her excitement, “I’m humbled, I think it hasn’t sunk in yet,” describes Mkatshwa. The meeting which began at 6pm on Wednesday and ended at 4:30am on Thursday morning was an intense and grueling one.
Former SRC president Mcebo Dlamini noted on his Facebook page that it was a very strenuous process.
Other elected members include deputy president Motheo Brodie, secretary general Fasiha Hassan, deputy secretary general Thabo Boom and treasurer general Karabo Marutha.
Mkatshwa remains confident with her backing, “We have four organisations that will back us up in anything that we do, and we will deliver as the PYA and the SRC.”
“We’re not perfect,” said Mkatshwa. “We will stumble here and there and we will admit where we have stumbled, but at the end of the day we will do our utmost best to have the interest of students being put first.”
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.”
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