Lifestyle audits: “Better late than never,” jokes Ramaphosa 

WITH INFOGRAPHIC: Activists to protest new cannabis legislation

Marijuana lobby group raises concerns about the signing of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill by President Cyril Ramaphosa at their annual indaba.

The Marijuana Board of South Africa (MBOSA) wants to delay the signing of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill as they argue that in its current form it fails to meet their needs and lacks clarity about uses.    

Secretary Ras Thapelo Khunou Addressing attendees of the Indaba. Photo: Ane Davey

These concerns were raised at the sixth Marijuana Friendly Indaba, an event hosted on Human Rights Day, March 21, by MBOSA, at the Kempton Park Council Chamber, which allowed activists and enthusiast to ventilate their concerns. 

The group plans to host a nationwide protest on the 4 May 2024, just 25 days before the national presidential election. 

Beyond concerns, the indaba had a panel of speakers facilitating conversations on cannabis cultivation, consumption and community empowerment.  

A range of issues also came from the floor, including but not limited to: the history of cannabis in South Africa, the economic empowerment of traditional cannabis farmers and indigenous communities and building relationships between community stakeholders like traditional healers and the South African Police Service.  

Chairperson of the Cannabis Development Council of South Africa, Ras Garreth Prince, wrote a letter to the President Cyril Ramaphosa to reject the bill. In it, he urges Ramaphosa to not sign the bill, and send it back to parliament.  

 “The current iteration of the bill falls short of constitutional standards and fails to address the legitimate interests of the cannabis community,” emphasised Prince.  

The letter written by him was accepted by the Indaba, as confirmed by Ras Thapelo Khunou, secretary of MBOSA, during the resolutions of the indaba.  

The organisers of the protest, Dave Sewell and Candice Nel extended the invitation to all, “it’s inclusive of everyone, nobody’s excluded,”  said the pair.

Bodies like MBOSA and the CDCSA are working hard to make the herb safely accessible and well-regulated for all South African citizens who consume cannabis for recreational, medical or religious purposes.  

NETBALL: School teams shoot through to 2023 World Cup  

Building up to the 2023 Netball World Cup in South Africa, the Sophiatown Netball Championship shines a light on the need to restore school sports. 

Gauteng premier, Panyaza Lesufi promised netball players from six schools in the greater Sophiatown area that they will be going to Cape Town for the Netball World Cup 2023, taking place from July 28 to August 6. 

Initially, only the four best players were promised an all-expenses paid trip to the World Cup. But Lesufi’s pledge on Sunday, May 28 made the circle bigger, including players from all six teams that participated in the two day Sophiatown Netball Championship, at the Brixton Multipurpose Centre in Johannesburg. .

The schools that participated were Coronationville Secondary School, Riverlea High School, Hoerskool Die Burger, Florida Park High School, Langlaagte Technical High School and Westbury Secondary School.  

Sophiatown Netball Championship volunteer teams trying to save the ball. Photo: Mbalenhle Dlamini

The Sophiatown Netball championship is a community centred tournament hosted by member of parliament Nompendulo Mkhatshwa and chairperson of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), Asanda Luwaca. 

Westbury High School goal attack (GA), Kamohelo Nketsi described the championship “as a great opportunity to showcase their skills and talents especially because they come from an area that is undermined and underdeveloped”.  

Florida Park High School was crowned the overall Sophiatown Netball Champions and walked away with a trophy after they played four times and beat three teams. Ntombizandile Ngwenya, who plays Florida Park’s Centre (C) won player of the tournament. 

A netball clinic facilitated by the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Netball Academy and a career guidance session by Wits University were part of the developmental part of the tournament.  

Mkhatshwa, said that they are “to raise awareness about the world cup and to resuscitate netball in schools by placing coaches from UJ in the schools and giving the schools netball equipment”. This work is part of her constituency work as a member of parliament.  

Coach Makhosazane Sithole from Westbury High School told Wits Vuvuzela that “the championship is good for exposure because it shows the girls that netball can take them far and what netball can do for them outside Westbury”.  

Mkhathswa added that drugs are a huge problem in the community, and sports  can be used to keep youngsters off the streets.  

The girls were full of excitement and shock some even started screaming “forever yena”, a pop culture reference for love and adoration while others cried after Lesufi made the announcement.  

FEATURED IMAGE: Westbury Secondary School and Riverlea High School battle it out for a goal. Photo: Mbalenhle Dlamini

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Student politics marred by party differences 

The University of Johannesburg’s student leadership tried to bring campus leaders together to collaboratively build on a shared vision for students, but was divided along party lines 

UJ’s first student parliament after four years of the covid-19 pandemic, collapsed as students refused to continue in the absence of the treasurer general and the academic officer. 

The UJ Central Student Representative Council (SRC) hosted the two-day student parliament at the Auckland Park Kingsway (APK) Campus. The hope was that UJ students from the four campuses could hold their various representatives to account. However, the student parliament did not reach this objective as delegates found it difficult to come to agreements on basic parliamentary rules throughout the sitting. 

The system at UJ is such that each campus has its own SRC, and a ‘UJSRC’ that is comprised of two members from each campus. The APK and the Doornfontein campuses are affiliated with the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) and the SRC members from the Banting (APB) and Soweto campuses, are affiliated with South African Students Congress (SASCO), which is the student chapter of the African National Congress (ANC). 

Missing delegates cause delays  

The first day of the student parliament came to a chaotic end because there were delegates missing, and according to student parliament secretary, Martin Huwa, suspicions were raised by the SASCO affiliated members of the APK SRC that the EFF affiliated members of APK SRC, may have removed names from the list of delegates, but these suspicions could not be proved.  

After the rules, duties and functions of the student parliament were adopted by the house, and the parliament speaker, deputy speaker and secretary were elected. The speaker of the house was Bonga Mshunqisi from the APK campus, deputy speaker was Karabo Kgobokwe from Soweto campus, and the secretary was Martin Huwa also from Soweto campus. 

Regalia relegation and no shows    

On day two political tensions flared when Lehlogonolo Mokwena came to the sitting dressed in EFF regalia. Student parliament rule number (I) states that “no member shall be allowed in the house with regalia of any political party”. Mokwena was asked to move to the gallery for contravening this rule.  

Mokwena refused, and this triggered a lengthy and chaotic back and forth between some members, the chair and deputy of the house. 

When calm was restored, new names for chief whips for each campus were brought forward for election.  

The treasurer general Zethu Mafuyeka and the academic officer Tshegofatso Molapo from the Central SRC were not present due to “academic commitments”. As such, they could not give their respective state of finances and state of academia addresses. 

Amotion was then raised to adjourn proceedings and call an emergency meeting at a later date, when all members of the APK SRC are available.  

The inter-political failures to set party politics aside and agree for the sake of the constituency, is something that has become increasingly problematic in South African politics. One need only think back to Johannesburg’s recent mayoral election, which was riddled with coalition failures and infighting. It is worrying that these political trends seem to be trickling down to student led organisations, sacrificing governance and efficiency to toe party lines.

FEATURED IMAGE: University of Johannesburg. Photo: Supplied

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