by Katleho Sekhotho | Sep 19, 2015 | News
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).
Nompendulo Mkatshwa remains SRC president, despite false claims by individuals within PYA BGM that she wasn’t. Photo: Riante Naidoo
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.
“Being bestowed with the responsibility of leading students is the most humbling thing.”
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.”
by Masego Panyane | Sep 3, 2015 | News
The results of the 2015 Wits Student Representative Council elections were announced and the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) won with 12 seats of the 15 seats available.
Earlier today Vice Principal Professor Andrew Crouch announced that the PYA won 12 of the 15 seats available. With Project W winning the remaining 3.
Electoral Officer Jabu Mashinini announced that there were 6973 valid votes, 688 spoilt ballots and the total turn out of students that voted this year was 7 661, 469 people more than the 7 192 total votes received in 2014.
In last year’s election (2014/2015) the PYA won 9 seats with Project W winning 6 seats. As with last years election both the Wits EFF and the Democratic Alliance’s Student Organization (DASO) did not receive any seats.
Thamsanqa Pooe, who was running for re-election received the highest number of votes at 3517 votes even though his party (Project W) did not win the election.
Obett Motaung and Lesego Mokwena, both of the Progressive Youth Alliance, received the least number of votes at 2705 votes each.
The current SRC’s Deputy President Omhle Ntshingila said “We are overly excited, the elections went well, they were fair and square. Students are in safe hands”.
A disappointed Thamsanqa Pooe said he that even though there were only 3 Project W members in the SRC, he was certain that students wouldn’t lose out. “In as much as there’s only 3 of us in the SRC, its 3 of our strongest candidates. 3 of the most genuine guys. 3 of the most hard working guys”, Pooe said.
Newly elected education student Ontiretse Phetlu said this win would definitely benefit the often forgotten education campus students, “I want to affirm to them (education students) that their voices will be represented…its the first step, I hope that they will take our victory as an inspiration” Phetlu said.
DASO’s Odwa Abraham says as an organisation their main mandate in this year’s election was to re-introduce themselves to the student community. ” Our plan this year was to be visible because we ‘disappeared’ last year. We are very happy with how things turned out, the response of the students was positive…so we achieved our mandate”, Abraham said.
Here is the list of the 15 candidates, the number of votes they received and their parties (in order of highest votes):
by Nqobile Dludla | Oct 11, 2014 | News
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
by Nqobile Dludla | Sep 23, 2014 | News
The choice of Mcebo Dlamini for Student Representative Council (SRC) president was not contested within the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) , one of the organisation’s leaders said.
“There’s no one who contested presidency, Mcebo was elected unopposed,” Wits Young Communist League secretary David Manabile told Wits Vuvuzela. The Young Communist League is part of the PYA.
Last week, Wits Vuvuzela reported that there was disagreement within the PYA over who should be SRC president. According to one of the PYA leaders interviewed in the article, there was a struggle to decide between Dlamini, Amogelang Manganyi and Senzekahle Mbokazi for president. There was disagreement over their different levels of experience and ability to carry out their duties.
But Manabile rejected this claim and said only Dlamini was mentioned as a potential president at the PYA’s deployment committee meeting and the following branch general meeting (BGM).
“We adopted recommendations of the deployment committee as they were. The only name raised for presidency was Mcebo Dlamini,” said Manabile.
“Those faceless people you interviewed might have had a different view but rest assured in the meeting we had, no one raised any other name for presidency.”
Sharing the same view, incoming president Dlamini said PYA members who believed there was a contest for SRC president were “lying”.
“There wasn’t any contestation for presidency, the sources were lying. I do not know if they were in the same BGM that we were in,” Dlamini said.
Although presidency was uncontested, Manabile said that PYA members in the BGM, which is the organisation’s highest decision making body, had differences over who would be Dlamini’s deputy.
“We did have different views as to who must deputize him but at the end we reached consensus, we left the meeting united, believing in the leadership that the BGM has agreed upon,” said Manabile.
A deployment committee list seen by Wits Vuvuzela listed Dlamini as president and Manganyi as vice president. The house reshuffled Manganyi to deputy secretary general and Shaeera Kalla from secretary general to vice president. Mbokazi who was initially given CSO and Student governance, was moved to secretary general.
Dlamini said although the vice president and secretary general portfolios were contested, that should not be seen as though “we are fighting”.
“It’s not like we are fighting when we contest. Contestation is fine and is allowed. It’s wrong for people who were in the BGM to witness this contestation and say that there is bad blood,” said Dlamini.
by Nqobile Dludla | Sep 17, 2014 | News
I PUT IT TO YOU: Speaking to former SRC president, Sibulele Mgudlwa (Right) after Project W walked out of the SRC meeting, Project W member Jamie Mighti (left) contested the procedure in which the meeting was conducted. Photo: Nqobile Dludla
The first meeting of the newly elected Student Representative Council (SRC) held earlier today was declared an “illegitimate forum” by Project W members who subsequently walked out. The allocation of portfolios to new members continued after the walkout and was done entirely by members of the PYA (Progressive Youth Alliance).
At the start of the meeting which took place in Senate House, Project W’s Jamie Mighti objected to the process of voting for new portfolio holders and instead called for a discussion about the portfolios.
Mighti argued that the meeting “is governed by laws of the SRC constitution.” “According to the law, we are supposed to contest (the new proposed portfolios) and deliberate and not just go on a vote”, he said.
Outgoing SRC President Shafee Verachia who was chairing the meeting, denied Mighti’s request and started the process of voting. In objection, all six Project W members gathered their things and walked out.
Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela after the meeting, Mighti said: “We walked out because it was an illegitimate forum. They (PYA) are not allowed to dictate positions to us, and this was unjust abuse of power. They disregarded the SRC rules and procedures and refused to recognise them.”
Verachia adjourned the meeting after the walkout and reconvened it after a short break with the remaining SRC members, in accordance with rules governing meetings of the SRC. The PYA then nominated Project W members for vacant portfolios after key portfolios were filled.
Mighti said his organisation regard the portfolios allocated to them by PYA as “null and void” as Project W did not decide on them nor accept them.
“Because they did not discuss them or even deliberate them, they are playing with students’ lives. The portfolios proposed are white elephants. They are redundant positions which do not allow us to help students to our full potential”, said Mighti.
Project W told Wits Vuvuzela that they intend to lodge an official complaint with the university, and if the university refuses to recognise their complaint, they “will get a high court interdict from the high court, making today’s meeting completely illegitimate and reversing any outcomes that were decided upon”.
2014/2015 SRC Portfolios
President: Mcebo Dlamini
Vice President: Shaeera Kalla
Secretary General: Senzekahle Mbokazi
Deputy Secretary: Amogelang Manganyi
Treasurer: Mthuthuzeli Mahlangu
Students and Legal Services: Waseem Talia
Academic: Fasiha Hassan
Projects, Media and Campaign: Blaise Koetsie
CSO and Student Governance: Omhle Ntshingila
Research and Policy: Enhle Khumalo
Campus wellness: Jamie Mighti
Transformation: Thamsanqa Pooe
Social and Community Development: Kabelo Murray
Strategic Planning: Gwinyai Dube
International Affairs: Tanya Otto
by Nqobile Dludla | Sep 2, 2014 | News
TRIED & TESTED: Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) candidate Mcebo Dlamini tries to convince students to vote for the “very same leadership that has been with you through thick and thin”. Dlamini was addressing a crowd of students at one of the lunch circuses held outside the Wits Great Hall. Photo: Nqobile Dludla
The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) continues to maintain it will dominate the 2014/2015 Student Representatives Council (SRC) owing to its track record ahead of the elections this week.
The PYA believes Witsies will send the votes their way as the “tried and tested party,” despite criticisms from their opponents that they (PYA) are far too reliant on their historical achievements.
Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, PYA candidate Amogelang Manganyi said: “As a tried and tested party, we are still relevant”. “When I speak about us being tried and tested, it speaks to the notion of candidate for candidate, experience for experience, organisation for organisation, we’ve been here the longest, and we know how things work”, said Manganyi.
Among other critics of the PYA, Valentine Ndlovu, 2nd year BA who wasn’t moved by the history lesson given by the PYA at Monday night’s circus at the Highfield Dining Hall pointed out how much the PYA “usually talk about what [they’ve] done” and challenged the organisation on what it’s planning to do for students.
“Rehashing history isn’t really viable. We need to keep up with the times. We can’t always go back to the stuff that you’ve done”, said Patience Raidani, 1st year BA.
Zimbali Mncube who is also in 1st year said you must “re-articulate interests, you cant keep tracking old interests, that yesterday I did this. People want new interests, you must rejuvenate those interests”.
Thabiso Funde 1st year BA felt that as a first year she doesn’t know the PYA’s track record and therefore is interested in what they are offering.
“As first years we don’t know exactly what you [PYA] did and we can’t go off by assumptions that you [PYA] guys did this and that’s going to carry on. We need to know what you [PYA] are offering”, said Funde.
Project W who occupied SRC seats for the first time last year, have also challenged PYA’s “tried and tested” slogan, claiming that “PYA makes superficial promises that don’t (sic) hold water”.
“Straw houses built by competitor’s burn down. The PYA makes superficial promises that don’t hold water and fall apart as straw houses fall when set on fire”, said Project W candidate Kabelo Murray.
Who will occupy the seats?
Despite being challenged by critics and the arrival of the Wits EFF, the PYA is “confident” that the SRC will remain a PYA-led SRC ahead of the elections.
“I think generally students trust the Progressive Youth Alliance however when it comes to elections, you can never be certain because last year we were certain that we were going to get all 15 seats and we didn’t,” said Ntshanana.
Ntshanana also added that he doesn’t “think the [Wits] EFF have penetrated the space, they have been on campus for less than 6 months and I think what students want to know is what you have done for them which is a question that the [Wits] EFF cannot answer because they haven’t done anything”.
Wits EFF member, Tshepo Goba thinks otherwise. Goba claims that they “have raised the bar and brought in a new brand of politics” to Wits.
“As the [Wits] EFF we have raised the bar, we brought in a new brand of politics, we stuck to our guns even when we are being labelled as backward and racist and anti-progressive. It’s really up to the students”, said Goba.
Project W who are also confident about retaining SRC seats based on their “hard work” and “growth”, said: “We will definitely get seats and we will make a difference when we go to the SRC and we have the students that we serve to thank above everything”, said Project W candidate Thamsanqa Pooe.
by Nqobile Dludla | Aug 29, 2014 | News
SHUT OUT: Jamie Mighti of Project W dismisses accusations from members of the Progressive Youth Alliance. Project W was accused of being “sell-outs” for not joining a march against proposed changes to the residence policy on Wednesday. Photo: Nqobile Dludla
By Nqobile Dludla and Lutho Mtongana
The SRC election was dominated this week by a controversial new res policy which brought together the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) and Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in protests, marches and threats to boycott the vote.
The highly contested policy states that “[it has been revised] for new first-year undergraduates to make campus accommodation more accessible and appealing to all students, especially those who have a good academic record”.
In addition, the policy states its intention to “ensure a diverse and cosmopolitan residence environment in which everyone can feel at home and can succeed academically.”
The protests culminated in a four-hour meeting at the SRC offices between the PYA, Wits EFF, the SRC, house committee representatives, Res Life director Robert Sharman, Deputy Vice-chancellor: finance Tawana Kupe, Dean of students Pamela Dube and Vice-chancellor Prof Adam Habib on Wednesday.
At the meeting, Habib agreed to “halt” the roll out of the revised residence admission policy pending further discussions to be held on Saturday.
Public protest about the policy began at the evening circus on Tuesday. The 2010/2011 SRC president, Mukovhe Morris Musatha, pleaded on behalf of Mens residence to the three organisations campaigning in the SRC election—PYA, Wits EFF and Project W—to come up with a resolution.
Initially, it appeared that all three organisations would oppose the policy following a meeting at the circus when SRC president Shafee Verachia said they would all march against it on Wednesday morning.
Verachia said the parties had agreed to boycott the SRC elections if their protests fell on deaf ears.
However, Project W said it had not agreed to the march or a potential election boycott. Project W candidate Jamie Mighti said they disagreed with the PYA and Wits EFF on “process”.
“There’s a process before we follow these things. We can’t make a hasty decision as an organisation,” Mighti told Wits Vuvuzela on Tuesday.
“Consultation was the issue and the fact that students weren’t being consulted”
Although the Wits EFF joined the march against the new res policy they accused Verachia of a lack of transparency, saying he as SRC president had known about the new res policy for weeks.
“They [the PYA] knew this and they did not tell the students, they did not consult with the students when we asked him [Verachia] … We found out last night, then we probed him as the EFF, he buckled under pressure and he said he knew in July,” said Wits EFF candidate Anele Nzimande on Wednesday.
Critics speak out
Critics of the policy said it would result in students already in res losing their rooms and called it racist, arguing that it was designed to bring more white students into residences.
Coming in effect in 2015, the policy will ensure that more single rooms will be available to new students in addition to already allocated double rooms.
This point outlined in the policy did not sit well with majority of the residents who worried about losing their rooms next year.
“The resident students who are currently here now might not have a place next year because they [management] want to open the residences to first-years. What that means is that they want to give single rooms to first-years and when that happens those who are currently staying here now will lose their rooms,” said All Residence Council chairperson Mpho Maziya.
“They are to close off 30 percent space to try and accommodate white kids who can normally afford accommodation outside of university,” Maziya said.
Habib contested the racialization of the policy by critics: “What I don’t like is, people racialize the question as if because we are taking white students, we are going to bring out black students, I never said that.”
Students also contested the policy on the basis that student bodies had not been consulted on the changes.
“Consultation was the issue and the fact that students weren’t being consulted. We said we are not interested in the procedural issues we are more interested in the substantial [issues] for the purpose of that policy,” said Wits EFF candidate Vuyani Pambo.
Maziya said they wanted the decision-making structures around student issues to be more representative, including having non-SRC members a part of the process.
“We are requesting that the decision making structures need to be more representative because what you have now is certain members of the SRC sitting there making decisions for resident students without the knowledge of what’s going on in the residences and how these decisions will affect students,” said Maziya.
Wits Vuvuzela, Habib agrees to halt controversial res policy, August 2014
Wits Vuvuzela, UPDATE: Student organisations unite to challenge revised residence admission policy, August 2014
by Nqobile Dludla | Aug 27, 2014 | News
THE CRY: PYA candidate Nkululeko Nkosi strikes alongside Project W and Wits EFF outside Mens Res while waiting for the leaders of the three parties to reach an agreement about the revised residence admission policy last night. Photo by: Lutho Mtongana
By Nqobile Dludla and Lutho Mtongana
The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) and some of members of the Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) along with members of house committees and the SRC marched to the international affairs office this morning to demand a response from Wits Vice -chancellor, Prof Adam Habib about their concerns on a revised residence admissions policy.
Habib met the dozens of protestors to receive the memorandum that was jointly written last night by the PYA, Wits EFF, house committees and the current SRC.
The memoranda states: “We as concerned students, social leaders and student representatives say that the time is ripe to demand the university keep students interests at the forefront and not impose policies that will affect our lives adversely, without any consultation or vigorous engagement.”
“We told him that it is unacceptable that issues that relate to students are not properly discussed and debated with students before an actual policy is taken into consideration of being drafted”, said PYA candidate Shaeera Kalla.
Habib told the students that he would meet them to offer his response to the memorandum later in the day. The meeting will be held at Mens Residence common room at 2:30 pm.
Competing candidates and organisations for this year’s SRC (Students Representatives Council), elections race were united last night in a bid to challenge the Wits University revised residence admissions policy which aims for a more cosmopolitan university at the expense of disadvantaged students.
The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), Project W, and the Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), along with the house committee and the current SRC , will occupy the international affairs boardroom from 9am today to challenge the recommendations of the policy, according to outgoing SRC President Shaffee Verachia.
Verachia said the group will draft a memorandum and hand it over to Wits Vice Chancellor, Prof Adam Habib.
The revised residence admission policy, which Habib referred to at a recent townhall meeting, states: “for new first-year undergraduates to make campus accommodation more accessible and appealing to all students, especially those who have a good academic record”. In addition, the policy states that: “[It] will ensure a diverse and cosmopolitan residence environment in which everyone can feel at home and can succeed academically.”
According to Mens Residence chairperson, and PYA candidate, Keoagile Matseke: “Some of the recommendations outlined in the document, we felt that were disadvantaging certain students. We felt that the management tries to achieve the cosmopolitan agenda at the expense of other students.”
At last night’s meeting, Verachia announced that: “ All three structures (PYA, Project W and Wits EFF) further accept that there may be a call to boycott SRC elections if tomorrow our voices fall on deaf ears.”
“We felt that the management tries to achieve the cosmopolitan agenda at the expense of other students”
Project W disagrees with process
Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela after the meeting, Project W’s Jamie Mighti said while his organisation agrees with the rejection of the policy, they disagree with the manner in which the issue is being addressed.
Speaking on behalf of Project W, Mighti said, “We disagree with a protocol, we disagree with the process. As Project W we cannot support something we haven’t seen, we haven’t engaged our minds with, we haven’t spoken with our constituencies about.”
He added, “We are united around student issues, when they are genuine, this is a genuine student issue but we don’t think the way it’s being articulated is genuine. There’s a process before we follow these things. We can’t make a hasty decision as an organisation.”
by Nqobile Dludla | Aug 22, 2014 | News
TRANSFORMATION AT PLAY: Wits EFF candidate Brian Sibanda at the SRC circus outside the FNB Building on Wednesday, giving closing remarks about transformation through creating sports for the disabled and changing the names. Photo: Lutho Mtongana
By Nqobile Dludla and Lutho Mtongana
SRC ELECTIONS are well underway but, unlike in previous years, candidates will no longer be able to campaign in the evenings in dining halls with the cancellation of evening circuses.
According to chief electoral officer Jabu Mashinini, evening circuses in dining halls during dinner hours is not allowed because it disturbs students from eating peacefully.
Campus housing director Rob Sharman said it was “long-standing policy that election circuses in dining halls are not held during meal times.”
Holding circuses after dinner hours, after 8pm, was also shot down by the SRC election office because it would be an unwelcome distraction during study times.
“We are considering student academics. When are they going to study if we start at 8pm and finish at 10pm? So that’s the reason why we cancelled the evening circuses,” said Mashinini.
Sharman said that while two dining halls, Main and Highfield, only close at 8pm this was not the case for all dining halls.
“The other four dining halls close at 7pm, as they always have, so election circuses can start earlier in those venues,” Shaman said.
Sharman said a proposed circus at Noswal Hall would have clashed with a previously planned Women’s Month event at the residence.
“So the circus obviously had to give way to the residence event. I have not seen any proposed alternative date for the circus,” Sharman said.
“What was beneficial about these evening circuses is that we target students that are not usually around during the day. For us not to be afforded that opportunity is really a shame.”
The decision to call off the evening circuses came as a surprise to candidates who arrived on Tuesday for the first scheduled evening circus, meant to take place at Convocation dining hall, only to learn it was cancelled.
Reaction from candidates
Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) election management committee chairperson Lesego Mokwena said the cancellation of evening circuses was “a shame” and would make it more difficult to get Witsies to turn out and vote.
The PYA felt that “not having evening circuses is really a shame” because they were also campaigning to encourage Witsies to actually vote.
“The issue of us not having evening circuses is really a shame because apart from trying to promote your manifesto, the first thing we try to do is to actually get the Wits students to actually go vote,” Mokwena said.
“What was beneficial about these evening circuses is that we target students that are not usually around during the day. For us not to be afforded that opportunity is really a shame.”
After the cancellation of the Tuesday circus, the ended up campaigning door-to-door at West Campus residences, David Webster Hall and Barnato Hall.
Project W candidate Gwinyai Dube said the cancellation was due to “a disconnect that exists between management structures and students.”
“It’s disappointing to limit the political process like that just because some guy sitting in the office somewhere is thinking for the students. Just because I’m eating doesn’t mean that I don’t want to hear what someone has to say,” Dube said.
Sharing the same sentiment, Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) felt that the student community should have been consulted before a decision to cancel the circuses was made.
“It should have been consultative to find out from students which do they prefer because some have tutorials during lunch time and are missing out on lunch circuses,” said Wits EFF candidate Anele Nzimande.
“It’s a huge disadvantage because evening circuses bring everyone together, so everyone is in the same place and you don’t have to go door-to-door giving people your manifesto one-by-one. Now we are missing out on that opportunity, we are missing out on so many people,” added Nzimande.
However, Nzimande said that the cancellation of the evening circuses won’t tarnish their effort to reach more students as new members.
First week of campaigning
The SRC elections officially began on Monday with a lunchtime SRC Great Debate held in the Great Hall. It was the first time the PYA, Project W and Wits EFF were able to present their manifestos to students who packed into the large venue.
Transformation on campuses and residences was a common issue raised by all three parties. Wits EFF called for changing the names of campus buildings to honour African leaders while the PYA said it was committed to transformation “at all levels”.
Project W countered by saying their candidate list was the most transformed because it was the most “representative” of the parties.
This issue of representativity came up at the Wednesday lunch debate, when first-year student Dan Peter, Bcom Law and Economics, challenged the PYA on its diversity asking if the organisation is “a representative party which can represent me as a white student in this university?”
PYA candidate Fasiha Hassan responded that the PYA advocated transformation on all levels on campus and defended the diversity of their candidates.
“If you look at all these people [PYA candidates], we have our candidates from all campuses and all religions,” Hassan said.
Day circuses will still take place during lunch at respective venues while organisations will organise their own evening campaign sessions.
by Lutho Mtongana | Aug 19, 2014 | News
GIVE US A CHANCE: Among other things, Wits EFF proposed to change the names of residences and some buildings in the name of transformation. Photo: Nqobile Dludla
By Lutho Mtongana and Nqobile Dludla
A proposal to change the names of campus buildings by political new kids in the block, Wits Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), was welcomed with backlashes at the SRC General Elections Great Debate today.
Wits EFF chairperson, Vuyani Pambo, said they aim to change the names of buildings on campus to honour those of “Africa’s heroes” including the Great Hall which served as the venue for the debate.
“I think it’s important that we locate ourselves so that we know where we are sitting, we are in Africa by the way but the buildings around us do not signify that … You would think in a university where [Robert] Sobukwe lectured, that hall will bear that powerful man’s name on it,” said Pambo.
Wits EFF candidate, Cathrine Seabe, said the party is “planning to help the VC with his 2020 vision of making wits university a more cosmopolitan university”. She said the Wits EFF would also work to racially integrate the campus.
“We are going to do this through university residences, that’s where it starts, we still don’t have enough students in university residences, we still don’t have enough racial groups,” said Seabe.
One of the PYA candidates rebutted the EFF’s name changing plan for some Wits buildings, saying “next thing you know they [Wits EFF] will change [the name] Mens Res to Julius Malema”.
Also disagreeing with Wits EFF’s vision, Project W said that the university has bigger problems than changing names of buildings on campus, arguing that there lot of students who are being academically excluded. They made the accusation that the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA)-led SRC “waits for students to fail first before helping them fight academic exclusion.”
Project W’s statement drew the ire of the PYA whose supporters threw their hands in the air in disagreement, chanting “Hhayi hhayi, unamanga!” [No, no, you are lying!].
Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela after the debate, Seabe said she felt that their proposals as the EFF was dismissed. She said they were not given an opportunity to engage with the students and elaborate on their points.
“We didn’t necessarily get the engagement that we wanted, not only from the other parties as well but from the audience [too] … We are coming around as the new kids in the block asking them to give us a chance,” Seabe said.
The debate held at the Great Hall was to introduce students to the 2014/2015 SRC candidates.
Tomorrow, a round of circuses at residences and other campus buildings will begin where candidates will debate each other and take questions from students on their grievances and issues.
by Nqobile Dludla | Aug 15, 2014 | News
PSOM OUT: Independent candidates under Positive State Of Mind (PSOM) pulled out of the SRC elections as they felt the organisation needs more time to establish itself. Photo: Nqobile Dludla
A group of independent candidates have pulled out of the SRC election campaign as it felt it hasn’t been firmly established on campus.
With campaigning due to start on Monday, independent candidates under Positive State of Mind (PSOM) withdrew as they felt the organisation needs more time to establish itself.
“Most of our activities on campus were done outside campus. So this is not pulling out completely but a mature decision to give ourselves a year to let everyone know who we are before we actually decide to run,” said PSOM vice chairperson Roland Nzanzu.
PSOM had nine candidates running for the elections. They are no longer on the SRC Election candidate list.
The only organisations left are the Economic Freedom Fighters, Project W and the Progressive Youth Alliance. Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (Daso) members are still “secretly” running under other organisations.
PYA said they are “confident” about the elections.
“We are confident as the Progressive Youth Alliance that through the work we have done as a collective for students in the past up to date, as well as the work that we still wish to do for the students in the future, that our candidates will be able to rally the support of the students of Wits University,” said Wits branch South African Student Congress (Sasco) chairperson, Nompendulo Mkatshwa.
Project W believe they “are ready to take it to the next level and be the governing organisation at Wits University”.
“Project W feels that we are the most relevant platform for creating real change at the University. As a collective of independent non-partisan student organisation we cut out the middle man and the external political agenda of our counterparts. We believe that we are ready to take it to the next level and be the governing organisation at Wits University,” said Project W member, Zuhayr Tayob.
UPDATED Candidate list
by Nomatter Ndebele | Feb 21, 2014 | News
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.