National News

Drinking dilemmas: Proposed laws to shake up South Africa's liquor landscape


In May of this year the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) released their proposal for new alcohol laws in South Africa. The purpose of the proposal is to respond to the rise of alcohol abuse through recommendations for problematic areas, one of which is the significant increase in alcohol consumption among the youth. Objectors to the newly proposed alcohol laws have been given until 13 August to raise issues. The implementation of these laws would impact anyone younger than 21 years of age and those involved in the liquor industry.

The proposed laws threaten to take away what is, for most students, a big part of student life: alcohol. One of the suggestions made by the proposal is to increase the legal drinking age from 18 to 21. Trademarx manager Amarie Botes feels that this change will not have the desired effect, saying that, “[The] millennials demographic group acts very ‘anti-establishment’. They do what they want and are extremely resourceful.” Tyronne Bakker, a second-year mechanical engineering student, feels that these changes to the law do not make sense as one “can be called an adult with all the rights and responsibilities at 18, with the exception of being allowed to drink”. In the proposal, the DTI argues that this is one way of fixing South Africa’s drinking problem, as research shows that the younger people start drinking the more likely they will be to experience heavy drinking problems as adults. To also help solve this issue, the proposal suggests that municipalities regulate the days and hours when alcohol is sold.

Read more: Drinking dilemmas: Proposed laws to shake up South Africa's liquor landscape

Transport disaster for Mamelodi


Mamelodi, one of the biggest townships on the east of Pretoria, has made news headlines recently due to the violence that arose when taxi drivers attacked Autopax buses, the replacements for the discontinued Putco bus service.


It was alleged that the government promised taxi operators that when Putco ended their service that these routes would be handed to the taxi operators. Instead, another bus service was put into place on these routes. The resulting strike affected commuters that relied on buses and taxis to get to work. Fikile Likhuleni, a cleaner at Inca, explained that she arrived late for work because there weren’t any taxis she could use in Mamelodi to get to the train station.

Read more: Transport disaster for Mamelodi

Africa Day 2015: Awakening the senses


On 19 May the African Union Student Alliance (AUSA) hosted Africa Day in the Plant Sciences auditorium. The theme for Africa Day was “Awakening the senses: political and social expressions through art in Africa” which was showcased through the use of art from various students at the university.

The event was attended by esteemed guests such as Vice- Chancellor Prof. Cheryl de la Rey, the director of the Department of Student Affairs Dr Matete Madiba, the acting dean of the Department of Humanities Prof. Hennie Stander and advocate Mojanku Gumbi, who was the keynote speaker for the evening.

Read more: Africa Day 2015: Awakening the senses

Constitution for Student Governance amendment workshop


With the SRC elections around the corner, the annual process for submitting proposed amendments to the Constitution for Student Governance was discussed in a workshop held on Saturday 16 May. The workshop discussed the Student Leadership Forum, the registration of new student committees, and the amendment process.

The SRC, Constitutional Tribunal, Stuku, Rag, Student Disciplinary Advisory Panel (SDAP) and Student Sport attended. Facilitator of the workshop Christina Mosalagae explained that the value of this constitution should be measured firstly on its transcendence or lasting value, and secondly on its legacy, what is passed on to future generations of student governance. The workshop was also attended by the director and deputy director of the Department of Student Affairs, Dr Matete Madiba and Dr Willem Jorissen along with the head of Student Governance Mzikazi Noholoza.

Dr Madiba explained that prior to the current constitution, the political system made students apathetic towards student politics, but unfortunately the rules of engagement of the current constitution are being broken leading to the platform being hijacked by certain groups. Dr Madiba believes that students need to regain a sense of civility in student forums and discussions and that difference isn’t always a point of conflict. She explained that difference is being used to destroy civility. Dr Madiba explained that “Improving the implementation of the student governance constitution is about ensuring that students get the opportunity to grow as individual leaders and as leaders who understand interdependence, collaboration and civility. The Student Leadership Forum is one of the forums where interdependence matters, where different leaders have to interact and elevate their shared vision for a positive change on campus.”

Read more: Constitution for Student Governance amendment workshop

Wits SRC president removed from office


Mcebo Dlamini has been removed from his position as Wits SRC president after being given a suspended exclusion, pending appeal, earlier in the year. Dlamini was found guilty of misconduct by a student disciplinary committee for an unknown offence. Afterwards, Dlamini posted on Facebook stating that he had been found guilty of “insulting one senior management clown that I said [he’s] an incompetent white man who still harbours [an] apartheid hangover.”

Wits Vice-Chancellor Prof. Adam Habib told the media that Dlamini had been allowed to stay in office while he appealed his conviction. Prof. Habib then said, “I have decided to withdraw my decision for Mr Dlamini to remain in office.” Prof. Habib said that he made this decision because he realised that allowing Dlamini to stay in office while his appeal was pending would be a violation of the SRC constitution and the principle of justice.

Dlamini has recently made headlines for comments on Facebook in which he expressed his admiration for Adolf Hitler. His comments regarding Hitler upset the South African Jewish community and Prof. Habib condemned Dlamini’s post.

Read more: Wits SRC president removed from office

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