Wits SRC looking beyond R1-million target

The Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) has reached the R1-million target but the campaign to register financially needy students will continue, Sheera Kalla, SRC deputy president told Wits Vuvuzela today.

After an “overwhelming week” of donations, the Wits SRC reached its R1-million target today through a combination of contributions and pledges. However, the SRC is set to continue raising funds since that R1-million is not enough to cover all 2 788 students who did not receive National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funds.

Kalla said the R1-million would only cover the registration fees of about 100 students. The SRC said it would “intensify” its efforts to raise funds after the success of the “One Million One Month” campaign.

“A million means we’ll help 100 students’ lives but at the same time you want to change more students and you want to say you did it in a responsible way,” Kalla said.

While the initial R1-million target was reached, most of the money was committed as pledges and is not yet in the bank.

“We’ll have to allocate the funds then we can really say we have reached our goal because students are getting registered,” Kalla said.

The SRC still needs to come up with a criteria on how they will allocate the funds fairly and responsibly. Kalla said they are considering first helping students who performed well academically and then helping third-year students because they will be finishing their degrees.

“This weekend we will have to sit down and decide because we want the funds to get to students as soon as possible,” Kalla told Wits Vuvuzela.

After the students have been registered they will have to take responsibility of paying for the rest of their fees. Though Kalla said the SRC will try to help where they can.

“Students also need to come to the table and try and do their best to get funding because you will now be registered and will have until the end of the year to pay your fees. So it’s going to be a collective effort by students and by the SRC,” Kalla said.

The money that will keep on coming in after R1-million will go to the humanitarian fund.

“The purpose of the humanitarian fund is not to fund student fees, it’s to fund things like outstanding payments that stop you from graduating, its upfront payment fees, emergency things, food, necessities … not pay your entire fees,” Kalla told Wits Vuvuzela.

The Wits SRC is now urging the people who have pledged to go to the bank and send the money quickly. According to Kalla if students are not registered in time they will not be able to do after the end of the month.

“The most important message is that even if we have reached the R1-million that was our target, that was not our goal, our goal is to change as many student lives as possible, a million is just a drop in the ocean,” Kalla said.