Wits students march in solidarity with UKZN

By Laura Pisanello and Nozipho Mpanza


TOGETHER WE STAND: Students march in solidarity with students at UKZN at Amic Deck today.


A small group of Wits students held a demonstration on campus today to show solidarity with the students at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN).

The group of about 40 students marched around main campus and were seen on Amic Deck, West Campus and in front of the Great Hall.

“We’re not happy with what’s been going on there. The raping of girls, the shooting of students,” said 3rd year Law and Politics student, Robyn Khumalo.

UKZN has now been closed until Monday September 19, following violent protests on various campuses. The protests are supposed to be in connection with various issues faced by the students at the university including tuition fees, scarcity of accommodation and the presence of private security on campuses.

“We’re saying [that] as students of Wits University, we support them and when one university student is affected, we’re all affected,” said Khumalo.

Students present at the demonstration said it was a leaderless movement. No formal list of demands has been drafted and the students said they were using today’s demonstration to mobilise the campus and recruit numbers.

“The moment that it seems that management is supressing a particular view and is unwilling to engage, it gets us to a point where students are resorting to alternative means of engagement,” said SRC President Nompendulo Mkhatshwa who was participating in the demonstration.

According to those at the demonstration, UKZN students have been protesting for weeks, but received little attention from the mainstream media until university property was damaged. The students expressed frustration at the manner in which issues that arise on campuses that are not Wits or UCT are handled in the media.

“The greatest concern, as student activists and as student leaders, is how quickly the media is to capture the story only once a building has burnt,” said Mkhatshwa.

During interviews, some students accused the SRC of not responding adequately to the issue which has “been happening for the past six weeks”, then subsequently “hijacking” the demonstration.

“When student governance structures are there, there is a level of protection that is then given and it becomes easier to engage management,” said Mkhatshwa in response to the accusation.


VIDEO: Students gathered around Wits Main Campus to show solidarity with students at UKZN.

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Wits FMF show solidarity to UKZN

A group of students calling themselves Wits Fees Must Fall (FMF) have demanded that vice-chancellor Professor Adam Habib intervenes in the current situation at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

Earlier this week, the group of about 30 students congregated in the Soloman Mahlangu House concourse, dressed in black and holding up posters showing their solidarity with the UKZN students.

The students refused to be identified or photographed, arguing that they did not want to draw attention to themselves. “This is not about us, this is about the students at UKZN who have been subjected to violence and injustice,” said one of the students.

Despite requests for the vice-chancellor to receive their memorandum of demands, the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr Puleng Lenka-Bula, was on hand to meet the students.  The memorandum outlined five demands to the vice chancellor in accordance to the positions he holds as an Impact Champion for the United Nation’s #HeForShe campaign and as chairperson of Universities South Africa and convenor of twenty six Vice Chancellors in South Africa.

The memorandum reads: “We demand that in your capacity as an Impact Champion of #HeForShe and chairperson of Universities South Africa, offer an unconditional apology to the victim of rape crime at UKZN as her rape occurs under the ridiculous and unwarranted presence of private security personnel and police on university campuses.”

“…offer an unconditional apology to all women and victims of sexual harassment at the hands of private security personnel and police deployed on university campuses…and offer direct support to the victim of a rape crime that occurred on the UKZN campus,” it further reads.

“Your unconditional support should ensure that a charge of rape has been laid against her perpetrator and that she is mentally and physically supported throughout the entire ordeal of seeing the case to trail,” it says.

Wits FMF also demand Habib institute a process where norms and standards that address gendered violence be adopted across universities and to end the “unwarranted securitisation and militarisation” of campuses across the country.

The students have given Habib five working days to respond to their demands.

The community of students have given the vice chancellor five working days to respond to their memorandum and have also requested that he give daily feedback on his progress in meeting their requirements.

Dr Lenka-Bula denied at interview with Wits Vuvuzela after accepting the memorandum.

Habib is yet to make a public statement regarding the memorandum.

UKZN closes residences due to protests

After violent student protests on campus, The University of KwaZulu-Natal has closed its residences

The Howard College building on the Howard College campus at the UKZN. Photo: Ryan Holder Ryanglobal (Legal Beagles [1]) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Howard College building on the Howard College campus at the UKZN. Photo: Ryan Holder Ryanglobal (Legal Beagles [1]) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons



All student residences at The University of KwaZulu-Natal have been temporally closed after violent student protest broke out on campus this week

Students barricaded roads and burnt cars outside the university, protesting against the change in requirements for student funding from National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS), according to Eyewitness News.

This comes after the funding requirements were changed from 50 percent to 70 percent.

A statement by the university was emailed to all students and required all students to vacate the residences by noon on Friday according to News24. In the statement Vice Chancellor and Principal Dr Albert van Jaarsveld requested the students leave “in context of the continued violence, the unwarranted arson, the unprecedented destruction of property, and the threats to the safety and security in residences and UKZN campuses”.

“Legal residence students will be allowed back into the residences on Sunday, 27 September 2015”, said van Jaarsveld.

Last week students were removed from a Westville campus residence after it was torched and a private bus contracted by the university to transport students was burnt, according to iol news.

All academic programs were suspended on Wednesday according to News 24. University spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka told News24 that the decision to suspend the programmes was regrettable considering that it was so close to the end of the academic year.

The KwaZulu-Natal police arrested two suspects in connection with the violence at the Westville campus, according to Eyewitness News.

Police spokesman Thulani Zwane told iol that a case of public violence has been opened.

Despite the safety concerns many students have expressed concerns about not being able to afford alternative accommodation or being able to journey, sometimes to other provinces, to return home.

Some of these student have turned to social media to express their concerns like this comment on a post on the UKZN Facebook page: “ We are being chased like dogs, like we did not pay for res…The red ants will have to scoop me up from my room”.

fackebook UKZN 2


A tough games gives Wits hope for the finals

SHOULDER-TO-SHOULDER: FNB Wits standing side-by-side singing the national anthem before kick-off.   Photo: Anlerie de Wet

SHOULDER-TO-SHOULDER: FNB Wits standing side-by-side singing the national anthem before kick-off.                 Photo: Anlerie de Wet

FNB Wits gets closer to the finals, defeating FNB UKZN again, with a score of 40-26, after a tough game in the Rugby Varsity Shield cup, last night.

Wits scored the first try of the game within 10 minutes putting them in the lead by eight points.

UKZN did not back down and after a sloppy move from Wits their captain, Lwazi Ngcungama, leveled the scores when he was given a chance to score a penalty.

However, Wits scored another try shortly thereafter through their centre Marx Koch and  just before half-time Ayabulela Mdudi gave Wits in a comfortable lead of 16 points when he scored Wits’s third try.

At the half-time break, Wits coach, Hugo van As said Wits was making a lot of mistakes, receiving a lot of yellow cards that could be avoided.

“We’ll cut down in our mistakes. A lot of penalties against us, a lot of discipline issues, not sure of the interpretation of the law… if we want to get continuity we would have to pick up on our discipline,”  said the coach.

“It was a tough one…I think we showed them too much respect we let them come at us we didn’t play our game tonight,”

However, Wits was not the only team making mistakes as UKZN Coach, Ryan Strudwick also admitted that his team was struggling with defence, making the rest of the game a bit hard.
In the second half of the game, UKZN picked up its pace after a “stern talking” from their coach.

UKZN, toughened their defence and their handling, giving Wits a run for their place at the top. They [UKZN] were sitting on 21 points, putting them just 11 points behind, when Marius Louw scored a try. Siphatisene Dube’s try a few moments later brought them even closer to Wits, taking UKZN up to 26 points.

Wits closed the game a with Brandton Hewitt’s try followed by  Tommy Damba’s conversion in the last 10 minutes of the game, Wits Captain, Richard Crossman admitted that they did not play to their “maximum” capacity.

“It was a tough one…I think we showed them too much respect we let them come at us we didn’t play our game tonight,” Crossman said.

Ngcungama said they played a “scrappy game” and was “really disappointed” as the captain of the team but hoped to do better so that they stand a chance to make it to the finals.

Wits hopes to not only have a place in the finale but to take the finals home while UKZN has to play and win against Fort Hare on March 30 to be guaranteed a place in the finals.

Wits can’t be knocked down

LETS MAKE A CLAP: Wits boys share their victory with the crowd as they walk off the field after a stunning game of multiple tries.

LETS MAKE A CLAP: Wits boys share their victory with the crowd as they walk off the field after a stunning game of multiple tries. Photo: Lutho Mtongana

FNB WITS remain in the top spot of the Varsity Shield log after a comprehensive win against the University of Fort Hare (UFH) last night. The Witsies came away 93 – 0 against the team from Alice at the Wits Rugby stadium.

This was Wits’ second win in the season against Fort Hare, having beaten them 39 – 24 last month.

Wits flew into half-time with an unassailable lead of 48 points after right-wing Joshua Jarvis and left-wing Luxulo Ntsepe helped score two more tries. Fort Hare never managed to recover with poor defence dominating their performance.

“We didn’t make our own one-on-one tackles, we never got the ball-in-hand – we’d kick it away. So we played most of the game without the ball-in-hand, so surely when you don’t have the ball in hand in rugby, you’ll always go down,” said UFH’s coach Currie.

“It’s an embarrassment, I think the best thing about this game is that it’s over. But you have got to keep fighting, the show’s not over, we’ve got two more games left,” said UFH captain, Madoda Ludidi.

“You can’t afford to have three tries scored against you in the first fifteen minutes, then you start playing your own rugby – start playing ‘catch-up rugby’, which is not winning rugby, unfortunately,” Ludidi added.

Wits rugby captain, Richard Crossman congratulated his team on a good game. He was named the “player that rocks” for the night – the Varsity Shield title for the man of the match.

“I’m so glad we were so clinical, I think it was a great game for the team, we’ve got a great coaching style and great management,” Crossman said.

Wits coach, Van As said the boys could stay on top.  “If we keep our feet on the ground and just make sure we achieve what we want at the end of the season.”


Wits Vuvuzela, Wits boys shield their position on top, February 27, 2015

Wits boys shield their position on top

Tendai Dube and Lutho Mtongana

The Wits Varsity Shield team is back with a competitive bang, sitting top of the log with three wins and a draw in their first four matches of the season.
FNB Wits has been unstoppable since the season kicked off a month ago and this week was no different when the boys drew 37-all against the University of the Western Cape (UWC) at home.
Wits captain and flank Richard Crossman said the team has been fortunate in getting this far in the Cup.
“It’s been a huge transformation, we have a whole bunch of new guys, new management, and they are all fresh from matric. We only have two or three senior guys,” said Crossman.
Although they are currently leading the log, the team still have to work hard to stay ahead of the game and, according to Crossman, are training intensely.
“Our weaknesses is that we are young and inexperienced but that could also be our strength because our guys are young and are willing to learn,” Crossman said.
In their first game of the year the Wits boys went head-to-head against a normally challenging Fort Hare, and defeated them with a solid 39-24 win.
They then proceeded to squash the TUT Vikings with 71-36 in their next match on February 19.

CROSSING THE LINE: Richard Crossman, Wits Rugby Captain, flank  Photo: Tendai Dube

CROSSING THE LINE: Richard Crossman, Wits Rugby Captain, flank Photo: Tendai Dube

On March 9 Wits will be playing against Fort Hare on the Wits Rugby Field and Crossman is determine that they will come out on top once again with their home ground advantage.
There are five teams in the Varsity Shield this year: UWC, Wits, Fort Hare, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). Wits needs to finish at the top of the log at the end of the season to secure a chance to move back into the Varsity Cup.

Varsity round-up

Rhodes student murdered

THE body of a Rhodes student was found in Port Elizabeth on April 13. She had been stabbed in her neck and chest.

News24 reported that Lelona Thembakazi Fufu, 23, was murdered while hitchhiking to her graduation ceremony last week.

Police spokesperson André Beetge said that, since Fufu’s clothes were still on but her valuables were gone, police believed she had been robbed and then murdered.

Fufu would have been awarded her BSc Honours degree on Thursday evening.


Five universities under fire

INVESTIGATIONS  at five universities have revealed problems in the governance of certain institutions, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande has announced.

According to Daily News, Nzimande announced on April 16 that Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), the University of Zululand, Walter Sisulu University, Vaal University of Technology (VUT) and the Central University of Technology were under scrutiny for maladministration.

Assessors at TUT reported “continued governance problems” and a lack of progress by the university council in complying with recommendations made by a commission of inquiry and an audit by KPMG.

At the University of Zululand, the assessor reported an “unhealthy”, bordering on “dysfunctional”, relationship between the vice-chancellor and the council.

A lack of student governance was also cited as an issue at the university, where there has been no SRC since 2009.

Walter Sisulu University is reportedly in “dire financial straits”, and academic results are substandard.

Nzimande said he had not yet been given the reports on Vaal University of Technology and Central University of Technology.




Payment saga at UKZN continues

THE University of KwaZulu-Natal has denied accusations that it paid random amounts of money into contract workers’ accounts, following a three-month delay in payments.

Some lecturers and tutors have not been paid since January, East Coast Radio reported, and have stopped lectures as a result.

After students threatened to protest in support of the staff, some payments were made on April 13 and 14. However, staff claim they were paid incorrect amounts. One person claimed to have been paid just R16.

The university has cited administrative glitches for the problems, and said that backlogs would be sorted out soon.