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Water and electricity cuts inconvenience OP res students

Katherine Atkinson

Students at Onderstepoort residence have experienced frequent water and electricity disruptions this year. Fourth year BVSc student, Nicola Sankey, says that these disruptions “have been happening since [she] arrived at OP [res] in 2016”. However, the occurrence of these disruptions has escalated in 2018. A student, who wishes to remain anonymous, has compiled a log of all disruptions for 2018. The student says that OP res students experienced electricity cuts on February 21, March 5, 9, 22, 31 and April 12.

Water disruptions occurred on February 14, 20, 21, 28, March 2, 3, 5, 8, 14 and 15. The student says that the electricity cuts “usually last between 14-24 [hours], and on occasion just, a few hours”. The “duration of the water cuts” range “from a couple of hours up to two days” but “last year [they] had worse.” Sankey says that the most recent electricity cut lasted about 16 hours, and the most recent water disruption lasted two days. The University of Pretoria’s media liaison, Rikus Delport, says that these “disruptions were all caused by interruptions to the municipal services as a result of the aged utilities infrastructure surrounding our campuses and theft of municipal infrastructure”. Savannah Stutchbury, who has resided at OP since 2016, confirms that students “always get told the issue is ‘municipal’ in the case of water or due to cable theft in the case of power cuts.” Sankey questions why cable theft is such a frequent occurrence and asks what can be done to prevent this. Some OP residents, such as Noelle Steyn, are unaware of the reasons for the disruptions.

The University of Pretoria has “been engaging with the City of Tshwane at the highest level to try to reduce the risks to [their] core business”, says Delport. OP resident, Candyce Pedreiro, confirms Delport’s statement. “The management at OP res has established a WhatsApp group so that there is direct communication between OP and the municipality”, says Pedreiro. Pedreiro says there is also “a group for res students where the [information] is passed onto by the HC”. Sankey and Stutchbury, who have engaged with management on a personal level, appear to be frustrated by the lack of adequate response.

Stutchbury says that she received a reply “saying that they are trying to sort out the issues, but there is no funding available (despite the fact that residence fees increased R7000 this year […])”. Delport says that UP has “applied for substantial funding from the Department of Higher Education and Training to roll out [an] emergency water programme, as well as for the implementation of emergency back-up generators on several campuses where we do not currently have sufficient capacity”. In the meantime, Delport says that UP has “deployed a mobile standby generator to the Onderstepoort campus which has capacity to service the residence’s kitchen and some of the residences in the event of a power failure”. Stutchbury confirms that TuksRes have “implemented a small generator that provides electricity to five student blocks and the dining hall”. Sankey says that this generator “only supplies electricity to the old buildings (Blocks A-G)” and “[n]one of the flats are supplied with power (Blocks H-S).” There were various responses with regards to TuksRes’ addressal of the water disruptions. Pedreiro says that there are “proposed JoJo tanks that will be put [in] the new blocks” as “old blocks already have”.

Read more: Water and electricity cuts inconvenience OP res students

SRC first quarterly Student Forum collapses

UPDATE: In a previous version of this article we stated that SRC Treasurer Duanne van Wyk "shouted inaudible remarks at objecting members of the House." In a Facebook post, Van Wyk clarified that those remarks were that the SRC was allowed to vote at the meeting, saying "we're allowed to vote, we are part of the quorum." We also reported that the SRC had staged a walk-out of the Student Forum. According to Van Wyk's Facebook post, the SRC did not engage in a walk-out but rather the chairperson had signaled the end of the meeting when the SRC decided to leave the venue.

 

HENRI UYS

The First Quarter Student Forum, which was held by the UP Student Representative Council (SRC) on 27 March, ended without any items on the agenda being discussed. The Forum was held in the Sanlam Auditorium and lasted just over an hour, although two and a half hours had been allotted. This was the first Forum held since 5 May 2016, which was also dissolved.

Items that were included in the agenda for the Forum included a presentation of a SRC quarterly report (which would have been delivered by SRC President, Kwena Moloto), a financial report and budget for 2018 (which would have been delivered by SRC Treasurer, Duane van Wyk), and amendments to the Constitution for Student Governance (which would have been delivered by SRC Deputy-President, Mamello Malotsi). None of these items were discussed during the Forum.

The Constitution for Student Governance (CSG) has sections that deal with Student Forums. Section 41(2) of the CSG contains responsibilities that the SRC has when it comes to Student Forums. Section 41(2)(a) stipulates that the “quarterly reports must be made available on ClickUP and notice boards on all campuses two weeks before the next quarterly meeting”. Section 41(2)(b) stipulates that “the SRC Secretary must notify the members of the Student Forum, including the Student Body, on ClickUP, posters and notices on all campuses of the date, time and venue two weeks before the next meeting”. Members of Sasco Tukkies Branch questioned the constitutionality of the Forum, as these requirements were not met. The Chairperson of the Forum, Deputy-Chief of the Constitutional Tribunal, Rethabile Shabalala, admitted that the requirements were not met because the SRC does not have access to ClickUP. The Chair said that they contacted Faculty House Chairpersons and asked them to communicate the details of the Forum to their students. The Chairperson confirmed that the Forum was constitutional.

Read more: SRC first quarterly Student Forum collapses

TuksFM donates profits to the SRC

HENRI UYS

On 23 March, TuksFM donated its profits from 2016 to the Student Representative Council (SRC). A total of R123 416 was handed over to the SRC.

Perdeby spoke to TuksFM’s station manager, Leanne Kunz, about the handover.

Kunz said, “As a community radio stationTuksFM’s purpose is not to make a profit but to enrich our community, a large part of which is the student fraternity of the University of Pretoria. As such, any revenue we make over and above our operating costs is ploughed straight back into the university to be used to enrich the lives of its students.”

Read more: TuksFM donates profits to the SRC

UP wins 2018 Varsity Athletics

CAITLYN WALSH, ASHLEY MAGWINDIRI AND MARIESA POTGIETER

On 23 March, UP hosted Varsity Athletics at the Bestmed TuksAthletics Stadium. The event began with Wimpy’s 400m men and women’s hurdles race which took place right after the opening ceremony. The race was a good start to the evening with UP runners, Gezelle Magerman and Constant Pretorius, both placing first in the 400m hurdle race. Magerman came first in her race with a stellar time of 1:00:94. Pretorius won his race with a time of 0:50:11.

Read more: UP wins 2018 Varsity Athletics

Vertically Integrated Project comes to UP

Refilwe Mofokeng

Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) is a new initiative that focuses on innovation, research and development. The initiative is divided into two micro projects, Campus Mobility and Wispeco Aluminium which are being piloted in EBIT in 2018.

Senior lecturer and coordinator for Vertically Integrated Projects, Dr Nadia Viljoen informed Perdeby that UP is collaborating with Georgia Tech to be the first university in Africa to implement the programme.

Viljoen said, “The VIP programme was birthed from an educational need. The learning that takes place on such multidisciplinary, vertically integrated teams is very intense, yet totally different from the type of learning experienced in a lecture or a practical. It is learn-by-doing in the most basic sense of the phrase. Within EBIT an added benefit is that students can use the hours spent in the VIP teams as practical training hours as required by some degrees. The VIP programme not only enhances the learning experience, but it better prepares graduates for the working world. To top it all off, students can earn some very valuable experience to add to their CVs. “

Read more: Vertically Integrated Project comes to UP

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