Sasco remains a suspended society


Ditebogo Tshaka

On 23 January, Sasco Tukkies Branch was temporarily suspended as a society of UP. According to a letter issued to the society by the SRC, the temporary suspension comes following Sasco’s failure “to adhere to a direct order prohibiting [the] society and its members from participating in the 2018 registration period” at UP’s Hillcrest Campus. Together with the above reason, Sasco was said to have failed to produce a Managerial Report that was requested by the SRC Member for Societies, Obakeng Sepeng, on 11 October 2017 by email. It also failed to supply the same report at an SRC Societies Sub Council meeting that took place on 18 October 2017. The report in question was received on 8 November 2017. On 23 March 2018, Sasco instituted proceedings against the SRC with regards to this matter. They requested an adjudication process between their party and the SRC. The adjudication was held on 3 May in the Graduate Centre L1-68 from 09:00 to 18:00 and was chaired by the Constitutional Tribunal. Here, evidence was heard. Sasco had made four contentions, namely, that the “SRC President acted ultra vires[beyond the powers] in issuing the notice of withdrawal … [and that the] Societies Officer [Sepeng] failed administratively to carry out his duties in terms of Societies Sub Council Constitution…[and] failed administratively to collect managerial reports in a consistent and accountable manner”.

Read more: Sasco remains a suspended society

UP societies face funding cuts

Ricardo Teixeira

On 3 May, the SRC member for Societies, Obakeng Sepeng, told chairpersons of UP societies that their funding would be withheld if they failed to attend society specific training. This came after some chairpersons of UP societies claimed that the training was poorly communicated. According to Sepeng, he notified the chairpersons during the society sub-council meeting on 26 March that the training would take place on 10, 11, or 12 May, and asked them to reserve those dates. Sepeng created a WhatsApp group on 23 April and said the training program would be communicated on 7 May. However, it was only confirmed by Sepeng on 9 May that the training would take place on Saturday 12 May. Sepeng communicated with the societies chairpersons in response to their unhappiness towards the short notice. He responded by saying “Please let me know not to bother my self organising training for yall [sic].” On the WhatsApp group, Sepeng added further that the chairpersons who could not attend should “keep it to your self till Monday [7 May] when I address y’all at 15:00 [sic]".

Read more: UP societies face funding cuts

Additional funds allocated to NSFAS

Henri Uys

Minister of Higher Education and Training, Naledi Pandor, announced on 24 April that an additional R7.1 billion will be allocated to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

During a media briefing, Pandor said, “Additional government funding of R7.1 billion in 2018 has been allocated to fund bursaries for children of poor and working-class families entering universities and TVET colleges, with R4.5 billion set aside for qualifying university students and R2.6 billion for TVET college students. As a result the baseline allocation to NSFAS to support poor and working-class university and TVET students will increase from the R9.849bn in 2017/18 to R35.321bn in 2020/21.”

Pandor said, “The new funding allocation for first time entry university students is expected to fund approximately 40% (83 200) of the 208 000 spaces for new entrants at universities in 2018.”

Pandor said during the briefing that changes are being made to the student funding scheme. One of these changes is that the new student funding is being seen as a grant, not a loan. This means that students will not be required to pay any money back. However, there are conditions attached to this. Pandor explained, “Although first time entering students will not be expected to pay back the costs of their bursaries, they will be expected to meet certain conditions and expectations, including those relating to satisfactory academic performance.”

Pandor also said that her department is aware that some students are experiencing delays with their funding, but that they are working on solving this issue.

Rikus Delport, UP media spokesperson, said that a total of 7 342 students are being funded by NSFAS at UP this year. In 2017 and 2016, 6 611 and 6004 were funded by NSFAS respectively. In 2015, 5 418 students were funded.

Read more: Additional funds allocated to NSFAS

UP’s Open Day now online



The University of Pretoria made an announcement on its website that they will be launching a new method of hosting open days for prospective students. Open days will be carried out through a virtual online system. This system involves an “online web application” that will allow prospective students to log on and see an overview of UP’s academic programmes, facilitiesand its different campuses.

Read more: UP’s Open Day now online

Pregnancies at UP increase

Henri Uys

According to statistics from UP’s Student Health Services (SHS), the number of pregnancies at UP has increased from last year. The number of pregnancy related visits to the SHS between January and April 2017 increased for the same period in 2018 on some UP campuses. Senior coordinator at Student Health Services, Sister Hannelie Coetzee said that these statistics only reveal the amount of cases that have been reported to the SHS. Coetzee mentioned there has been a problem with regards to the availability of contraceptive treatments, such as injections and medication.

Read more: Pregnancies at UP increase

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