Intervarsity News 23 October 2017

University of Free State (UFS)

On 18 October UFS management held a meeting with the university’s SRC to discuss a potential 8% fee increment for the university. This follows after Stellenbosch University announced their increment earlier this month. Disruptions at UFS ensued shortly after the meeting began. On 19 October a video was uploaded on Twitter where students at UFS were met with disruptions in the midst of a semester test. According to one of them, protesters were armed with fire extinguishers and started discharging extinguisher gas “through small windows in the classroom”. The students who were writing began struggling to breathe after the gas was released and some resorted to breaking glass windows in order to get oxygen into the room. According to News24, students who broke the glass windows sustained injuries and one eventually collapsed and had to be taken to the hospital. Both of them managed to receive medical assistance for their wounds.

 

University of Witwatersrand (Wits)

After weeks of student campaigning, Wits held their SRC elections online for the first time during the week of 16 October. Although there were privacy concerns expressed by some students and an EFF candidate was accused of campaigning during election week, the voting process still continued. According to WitsVuvuzela, on 19 October it was announced that the EFF-SC won 12 of 15 seats, securing the majority and the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) acquired the remaining three. PYA has for several years secured the majority in SRC elections as in the 2016/2017 elections they walked away with all 15 seats and in the 2015/2016 elections they won 12 seats. This will be the first time that the EFF-SC has won majority of votes in the Wits elections.

 

University of Johannesburg (UJ)

According to the Independent Online, two senior managers at UJ, council chairperson Professor Roy Marcus and deputy vice-chancellor of finance Jaco van Schoor are being accused of committing fraud at the university by the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). The two are suspected to have transferred R30 million worth of funds meant to be used to install solar geysers at UJ into the investment company Innovative Investment Corporation (IIC), where they are shareholders. The senior managers have reportedly been suspended since July after the news emerged, with Prof. Marcus resigning from the university soon after and Van Schoor facing a disciplinary process. According to its spokesperson, Herman Esterhuizen, UJ is still to make a decision with regards to laying criminal charges against “those implicated in the forensic investigation”. NEHAWU feels that the university’s actions are not enough as the money could have been used to assist financially needy students by covering their tuition. The union is set to open a case of fraud against the two managers as it believes that they are guilty and that Prof. Marcus’s resignation is an admission of this.

 

Compiled by: Charisa Mujuru

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