A step back in media freedom for Pukke paper

The journalists at Wapad, the student paper of North West University’s Potchefstroom campus, said a decision to ban their publication is part of a plan to control media distributed on campus.

On Monday, Pukke’s marketing and communication department told Wapad editor Kevin du Plessis that the paper would not be published due to uncollected advertising fees of almost R80 000.

[pullquote]Banning, part of a plan to control the newspaper’s content to ensure it upholds the university’s reputation.[/pullquote] The university said neither a printed edition nor an online edition will be allowed to be published for the rest of the year until the money is collected.


Controlling media 

However, du Plessis said the banning was part of a plan to control the newspaper’s content to ensure it upholds the university’s reputation.

“This would mean that the newspaper will be managed by the marketing department and that everything will have to be checked by them before being published. The new chief editor they are going to appoint will also be an employee of the marketing department,” du Plessis said.

Wapad takes the fall for outstanding money

Pukke spokesman Johan van Zyl, in an article published on the M&G Online, denied du Plessis’ accusation and said Wapad could be published after the debt was settled.

“We stand for media freedom and actually promote it. It’s up to them to put the funds as soon as possible,” van Zyl told the website.

Promoting critical thinking

Du Plessis said this year has been a “culture shock” for the paper in terms of content. Wapad journalists have tried to write about prominent issues that promote critical thinking and expose injustices within the university including issues of sex, race, discrimination and abuse.[pullquote align=”right”]The blowback to Wapad’s articles have included physical violence.[/pullquote]

Earlier this year, Wapad published an article on a lecturer who made discriminatory and homophobic remarks. The lecturer allegedly said homosexuals are unnatural and should not exist.

Wapad also reveal the harsh treatment of first years by student leaders in Veritas residence. They published images of male students, bent over with their bottoms exposed, badly beaten and bruised to the point of having large, open sores.

Violent repercussions 

The blowback to Wapad’s articles have included physical violence. Last Saturday, du Plessis was assaulted by a student from Veritas men’s residence.[pullquote]”The university only cares about their reputation and tradition”[/pullquote]

The student allegedly hit du Plessis in the face for publishing an article which he claimed was disloyal to Veritas res.

Du Plessis said the university does little to provide the newspaper with feedback on what actions will be taken when the paper reveals misbehaviour.

“The university will never give us a formal press release to tell us what they are going to do about it. They only care about their reputation and tradition,” he said. [pullquote align=”right”]“I will keep fighting this fight because I want the person who takes over from me to be able to continue with what we have achieved and be able to write independently.”[/pullquote]

Boycotting Wapad

Du Plessis said leaders in residences have boycotted the paper in the past by telling students not to read it and not allowing it to be delivered.

“I will keep fighting this fight because I want the person who takes over from me to be able to continue with what we have achieved and be able to write independently,” said Du Plessis, who is leaving the paper at the end of the year.

In Wapad’s May edition professor Johannes Froneman announced that he will step down from his position of media regulator at the paper. He said he was disappointed with the lack of independence the paper has from the university and that this infringed on their right to freedom of speech.

A long way to go for Wits Rugby

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By Jay Caboz

FNB Wits have been left a mountain to climb after falling to bottom place with a 63-24 loss to FNB University of Johannesburg after squaring off in their first Varsity Cup match.

“The match obviously didn’t pan out the way we would have wanted but we have to take the positives out of it. We started the game too slow and after UJ got a few early tries we were playing catch up, which is never an easy thing to do,” said Wits Captain Devin Montgomery.

UJ ran in an overwhelming 9 tries to Wits’ three. Wits also fell short of a needed bonus point by a single try in their last two games. The points would have narrowed the broadening gap between Ikeys and Shimlas who are now four and six points ahead of Wits.

Luckily, Wits’ position in the Varsity Cup is secured for the 2013 season. Montgomery explained that there was no relegation zone this year guaranteeing that Wits will have two years in the competition.

“This is to ensure that we are given a fair chance to learn and adapt to this high level of rugby,” he said, “We know that every game in this competition is going to be tough and each week it’s never going to get any easier.”

“We have defended a lot this season and there has been a big gap between the number of tackles we have had to make compared to our opponents in every game.”

Wits are gaining a reputation of a never-say-die attitude on the field. During their match against UJ, Wits showed brief moments of brilliance when going forward. One of the key members to watch is Number 8 Carel Greeff who has proven to be an influential player in the squad having added another two tries to his five for the season in four matches.

“Carel is a great player and is playing great rugby at the moment. We have a couple of go-to ball carriers in the team, one of which is Carel,” said the captain.

The No. 8 has become well known for his crashing runs through opposing lines and he is a tenacious tackler that has made him an important element in the squad.

Montgomery said the “this Varsity Cup campaign is about learning and gaining experience playing at this top level of rugby for us.”

The team’s goals were to work hard in training and aim to perform for the full 80 minutes with making as little mistakes as possible.

“Wits will earn the reputation of being a difficult fixture I have no doubt about that. The team has a special bond and because we spend so much time together there is a family sense amongst the team,” he said.

For more Varsity Cup action follow the link


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Tough Run-In for FNB Wits Rugby


HARD BALL: Captain of FNB Wits Devin Montgomery drives through FNB NWU-Pukke’s defensive line during their match at the Wits Rugby Stadium on Monday evening. Wits have not won a game since being promoted to the Varsity Cup. Photo Jay Caboz

Story and Photos by Jay Caboz

FNB Wits took a beating after FNB NWU-Pukke ran in a haul of 10 tries to, losing 71-25 on Monday nights Varsity Cup match held at the Wits Rugby Stadium.

Despite the overwhelming score line, Wits put up a good show and for the majority of the game were in running contention. But the visitors from North-West University tore through Wits defence in the second half with 5 unanswered tries leaving Wits in the dust and one try short of a salvaged bonus point.

“We were incredibly happy with our performance in the first half, we just have to learn to play for 80 minutes,” said Wits captain Devin Montgomery.

The score line opened a minute after the starting whistle when Wits flanker Thato Mavundla ran the ball over the line from a driving maul deep in Pukke’s half.


TRIES FOR CHARITY: A fan waits for the kick-off between FNB Wits and FNB NWU-Pukke. The pink ball is a new introduction to this year’s Varsity Cup and allows players to add a R2 000 donation if they score for their team during the “Rugby that Rocks Time” period. Wits Rugby Club supports Usindiso Ministries, a shelter that offers support, assistance and care to teenage girls, abused women and their children. Photo Jay Caboz

The ball continued to roll in Wits’ favour after Carel Greeff broke through Pukke’s defensive line and put another try in.In the 15th minute Pukke shook off their shock and responded with a try of their own to bring the score to 16-5.
Pukke put another eight points on the board when SJ Niemand drove over the try line.

Wits were able to extend their lead by another two points after converting a long-ranged penalty to end the first quarter. The home team managed to extend their lead to 10 points when they scored what would be their last try of the match.

Play continued to swing in both halves with Wits making some crunching tackles. But Pukke gained some level footing after scoring another try to decrease the deficit. The final nail on the coffin was drawn when Pukke put in two more tries to end the half 31-25.

The second half remained a contest until 15 minutes in when the floodgates opened. Pukke ran in five more tries which completely overwhelmed Wits’ defence. The visitors size and field play was just too much for Wits to handle.

“Yes we took a beating, but a lot of the points we conceded were from mistakes on our own behalf and turning over the ball,” said Montgomery. “We have UJ [University of Johannesburg] next week and it’s a more familiar game to us than this week. We are looking forward to it.”

The result leaves Wits hanging in last place on the log, two points behind 7th Ikeys (UCT). Wits will need to put in a good performance against UJ, who are currently sitting 3rd, to draw some points ahead of their clashes with bottom of the log teams.