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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Women take charge of Wits SASCO

THE WITS South African Students Congress (SASCO) branch elected its Branch Executive Committee (BEC) for 2017/2018 last Friday, and, for only the second time, both the chairperson and vice chairperson are women.

In an interview with Wits Vuvuzela, newly-elected chairperson of main campus, Nonkululeko Mntambo, said, “I feel there is a very heavy duty on me, not heavy in a bad way. I think it wasn’t about me, but women. It was about bringing their voice in this revolutionary movement.”

Mntambo added that she thought their election was accepted, more than any other election. “I mean the process was very transparent, things were done according to the book. The person who lost would understand that they lost democratically.”

Newly-elected vice chairperson, Noxolo Madonsela, said it was encouraging to be given an opportunity to lead at a time when the SASCO was transforming on campus, given that the political space is one that is predominantly male.

Newly elected SASCO chairperson                                      Photo : Nonkululeko Njilo

Madonsela responded to women’s safety on campus by telling Wits Vuvuzela that, “With the increase in abductions in the Braamfontein area, it has made attending lectures and making use of the campus facilities a difficult task. It is exhausting to consistently have to calculate your every move on campus”.

She added that she thought the university was not doing enough to address the issue of safety, but she was hoping that the university management would be willing to engage SASCO on how best to keep women safe on campus.

On the unavailability of free sanitary towels in campus bathrooms, Mntambo said “SASCO has always had pad drives, but these were not run effectively, as they were run by men. At some point they would say, ‘Mchana give her one pad’ when they don’t even know or understand that we can actually use up to three [a day]”

SASCO member and third-year political studies student, Guni Shabalala, said, “I am excited that finally we [women] have representation in the structure. I have great faith in the new executive. We have seen these comrades on the ground. We have witnessed their leadership in other structures.”

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Wits Vuvuzela, April 22, 2017. SASCO Relaunches fundraising campaign

 

Tuks SRC Elections still under investigation

Afriforum Youth, EFFSC UP (Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command of University of Pretoria)  and SASCO (South African Students Congress) marched at University of Pretoria, demanding that SRC elections be re-held after claiming that the elections have been rigged. However, the university is still investigating and presently the preliminary results still stand.

The protests have been ongoing since DASO, the DA student party won most seats and the position of the president in the elections held two weeks ago. The university is still conducting an investigation and have so far opted for a recount and not yet called for re-election.

The dispute started after SASCO released a statement on Facebook stating that “one of our party agents notified us of a discrepancy at one of the voting stations (IT voting station) in which the votes and the voters roll did not correlate (58 more votes than voters); which is not unusual in this institution- it’s a practice they have enjoyed for too long.”

They also claimed that votes were rigged in favour of the DA, and that some polling station boxes were found unsealed.

This was later accompanied by Twitter and Facebook posts of photos that show the open ballot boxes.

 

Since the university launched the investigation, the Independent Monitoring Board (IMB) has met with concerned parties for a recount and full audit. Prof. Themba Mosia, vice-principal of student affairs and residences, stated in a media release, “In terms of its constitutional mandate, the IMB has found that a full recount of the SRC election votes must take place in the presence of staff from the Department of Student Affairs (DSA), the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), candidates or party representatives, and the internal auditor authorised to complete the audit.” Prof. Mosia emphasised that the IMB has not yet made a decision on whether or not the elections were free and fair.

“This is another tool to silence student activism,” .
According to Naledi Chirwa, the EFFSC-UP’s legal and transformation officer, “a recount won’t be feasible as a lot of time has passed and the votes have already been tampered with thus not making it optimal at this stage.” “This is another tool to silence student activism,” Chirwa said. Wits Vuvuzela contacted University of Pretoria’s management for an update on the investigation and was told “all the processes regarding the SRC elections have not been finalized.”  

 

*Sourced from http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/b20e3d8049ba185e840dd4fb3b358805/University-of-Pretoria-refutes-vote-rigging-claims-20150409 and http://www.perdeby.co.za/sections/news/tuks-news/4514-src-preliminary-election-results-challenged

 

 

PYA gives Wits NSFAS ultimatum

VIVA: Wits students and staff march together in solidarity with students not granted NSFAS. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

VIVA: Wits students and staff march together in solidarity with students who were denied NSFAS funding. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

Wits University has been given twenty four hours to allow students without funding to register or face the prospect of disruptions.

Members of the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), South African Student Organisation (SASCO) and the Young Communist League (YCL) today handed  a memorandum over to the dean of students, Dr Pamela Dube in the Senate House concourse. The group is demanding that Wits management “admit students now and solve the issues later”.

[READ MORE: Witsies face uncertain future without NSFAS]

Justice Mokotedi, chair of the Young Communist League at Wits, said protesting students would make the university “ungovernable” if their demands were not met on time.

“There will be no Sunday,” he said referring to the start of the Orientation Week programme starting this weekend.

“We have been sitting in meeting after meeting drinking coffee, our caffeine levels are high but we are tired. Sick and tired! We want answers!”

HAND IT OVER: Dean of Students, Dr Pamela Dube acknowledges receit of the PYA's memorandum. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

HAND IT OVER: Dean of Students, Dr Pamela Dube acknowledges receit of the PYA’s memorandum. Photo: Ilanit Chernick

He also accused management and vice chancellor Prof Adam Habib of being on a retreat while the protest was taking place.

“As this is happening and we are protesting for student rights, our VC is enjoying wine and whiskey on a retreat! We give Pamela this memorandum unapologetically.”

SRC (Student Representative Council), secretary general, Senzekahle Mbokazi, said students are protesting because “we cannot understand why there is so much confusion” between Wits and the Department of Higher Education.

Mbokazi said the SRC had been to speak to both the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) and Wits.

“NSFAS claims that Wits is mismanaging funds and Wits is saying they were not allocated enough money. In the meantime 2788 students are being held to ransom. More pressure needs to be put on the university,” she said.

As the march progressed throughout the day, protestors blocked the university’s central Yale Road to vent their frustrations.

“We will block campus roads,” said SASCO chairperson Nthabiseng Molefe as she addressed the crowd. “We will show management that we are in control!”

 

AUDIO: Vuvuzela journalists respond to backlash on VOWFM

On Monday Wits Vuvuzela journalists, Rofhiwa Madzena and Thabile Manala were invited to an interview by radio DJ 88 Keyez at VOWFM. This following the backlash from various student bodies after an article which was published by the journalists about Mcebo Sisulu who, in the article confessed to lying about his identity.

Following the interview on Monday, Rofhiwa and Franz Kruger, acting Head of Department at Wits Journalism went on VOWFM’s current affairs show Breaking Ground to discuss the issue further with the EFF Wits’  Tokelo Nhlapo. The EFF Wits released an official statement slamming the story which published on Sunday.

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