SRC ‘dumped’ at doorstep of Braam hotel

The PYA has some very strong words for the Student Governance Office after SRC members were moved to the Once in Joburg hostel in Braamfontein.

The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) has declared the Student Governance Office (SGO) an “enemy of the student revolution on campus” following what it claims was the forced removal of members of the Student Representative Council (SRC) from university accommodation on Sunday, January 20.

In a statement released on Twitter, the PYA, which won 12 of the 13 seats in the SRC election last year, condemned what it called just “one of the many ills” committed by the Student Governance Office against the SRC after members of the student body were moved from Medhurst Hall of Residence and Highfield Cluster in Parktown to the Once in Joburg hostel in Braamfontein rather than a different university residence.

SRC treasurer general Keneuwe Fetai told Wits Vuvuzela that they were informed that they would be removed from these university residences on Saturday, January 19, but were under the impression that the SGO would find them accommodation on campus for Orientation Week.

“Because some residence students would be returning this week, we were told that we’d be moved. But Student Governance claims no one on campus wanted to accommodate us. So we were moved to the Once in Joburg hotel in Braamfontein. They told us we were there by circumstance.

“We want to move out as soon as possible. It is putting us in a bad light. We are supposed to help students with their accommodation plight but we are here in a hotel. How does that look?”

Manager of the SGO, Jabu Mashinini, denied claims that SRC members were forcibly removed from university residences.

“The SRC was not kicked out of the vacation accommodation/residence, but had to vacate to allow the residence personnel to
prepare for the first years and returning students.”

Fetai, a fourth-year BEd student, told Wits Vuvuzela that around 30 members of the SRC members and sub-committees were housed at the Braamfontein hostel but fear that they will be removed soon and will have nowhere to stay. She says that they are disappointed at the lack of assistance from the university.

“If the university supported us they would fight for us. It doesn’t make sense, we are the SRC and we are staying at a hotel.”

Chairperson of the South African Student Congress branch at Wits, Mpendulo Mfeka, said that the removal of the SRC was “counterproductive” as the body needed to be in close proximity to students on campus. He said that the PYA’s statement reflected the souring relationship between the SRC and the SGO.  

“It is very reckless from Student Governance. They are not doing as much as they are supposed to do for the student body. Student Governance is supposed to assist the SRC so they can continue with their operations. But, according to Governance, no one wants anything to do with the SRC.”

Mashinini has replied to the statement released by the PYA, saying “The PYA is entitled to its opinion, Student Governance has an amiable and professional relationship with the SRC and does not make decisions unilaterally without consulting the SRC.”

Orientation Week is scheduled to begin in a few days, on Monday, January 28.

FEATURED IMAGE: The Once in Joburg hostel in Braamfontein is currently home to SRC members who were “forcibly” moved from university residences at the weekend. Photo: Tshego Mokgabudi

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Graffiti not officially PYA

The Progressive Youth Alliance has recently been the target of a sudden occurrence of graffiti on campus.

The graffiti in front of the Nunnery and next to the Wits Arts Museum has anti-PYA connotations. The artwork is painted in red with a drawing of an AK-47 and the letters PYA. It is next to graffiti saying “Steve Biko lives” and other graffiti says “F*** police”. Some near Solomon Mahlangu House was painted over.

When asked by Wits Vuvuzela about the graffiti, PYA chairperson Mpendulo Mfeka was shocked: “We did not know of any graffiti and it’s the first time I am seeing it.”

“I interpret it in my own way, to me it’s an aggressive form of graffiti. Because whoever drew that thing is probably not a PYA member. ’Cause you can’t draw an AK and then next to it draw a PYA sign. So you are literally saying shoot down the PYA.  This is news to us,” said Mfeka.

“It’s an issue which has to be handled by not only political activists but by the Wits community at large,” he said.

“We take note that these walls are again cleaned by our very own parents, workers, who we try to fight for year in, year out, that they must be insourced, so on and so forth. At the same time we create chaotic work for them, so you painting a wall, is not only a problem to the PYA, it becomes a problem to society,” said Mfeka.

THE WALLS HAVE WORDS: Writing on the walls in Jorrisson street

THE WALLS HAVE WORDS: Writing on the walls in Jorrisson street       Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

 

Reports surfaced during last year’s #FeesMustFall student protests and the SRC Elections that the leadership of the PYA was on rocky ground.

“There was some misunderstanding from the public or the Wits community at large, to say that there were fights within the PYA about who must be this and who must be that.  If you remember at some point there was a rumour saying that SRC people have resigned,” said Mfeka.

However, Mfeka dismissed all reports and told Wits Vuvuzela that the “PYA is well organised”.

Early last year the university condemned offensive graffiti on campus, whether political or social.

“It has come to our attention that a small group of students are deliberately spraying offensive graffiti on walls on Wits’ campuses and on T-shirts,” a statement said.

According to the university, it is forced to clean the offensive graffiti which comes at a huge cost to the university and these are funds which could have been spent on financial aid.

The university said it would take action against anyone caught defacing university property or spraying graffiti on walls not designated for this purpose.

Wits Chief Operations Officer Fana Sibanyoni said “Wits has approved graffiti walls on the Braamfontein East and West campuses.”

“These are: the white wall outside the matrix, the tunnel linking the East and West Campus (near the traffic circle) and the white wall between PIMD and Chalsty Centre. Permission to use these designated spaces must be sought from Student Affairs,” said Sibanyoni.

PYA announces new SRC leadership

The Student Representative Council (SRC) has announced its new leaders after a meeting on Thursday night.
“We have constituted! Your #PYA15 are officially the incoming SRC 2016/17,” the Wits Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) tweeted on Friday afternoon.
Last month the PYA won all fifteen seats to lead in the incoming SRC. Friday’s announcement comes after reports of infighting between two factions which wanted different presidents.
Kefentse Mkhari was elected to lead the SRC with David Manabile serving as secretary general.

SCROLL DOWN TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE NEW SRC EXECUTIVE

Testing time for SRC elections

NEW LEADERSHIP: Witsies queue to vote in SRC elections held on campuses this week. Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

NEW LEADERSHIP: Witsies queue to vote in SRC elections held on campuses this week. Photo: Nokuthula Zwane

CAMPAIGNING for the highly contested Wits 2016/2017 SRC elections during test week has been a strain for some student political organisations. (more…)