From the Editor

From the editor: Campus politics

I’m tired. So much happened in the last week regarding some developing news stories and political discourses on campus. To the average student these will be small interesting (or uninteresting) stories that have nothing to do with anything really. But to a small handful of people (looking at Student Forum as an indication, that makes about 100 students) last week was wild.

Sasco is still banned. This comes after they failed to submit a report in time and hung a flag during welcoming week (page 4). Sasco had some problems with the ruling, one being that SRC member in charge of Societies, Obakeng Sepeng, mishandled the processes and ultimately would have had to make the call for banning the society, but which was instead made by the SRC and communicated by SRC President Kwena Moloto. But then we get news that Sepeng is having his own troubles with the societies at UP and is threatening to take funding away from UP societies after messing around with their time (also page 4). If we compare these events and try equate these into their broader political environment on campus, we get left with a confusing mess of hypocrisy, unfair treatment, bad communication, and needless and groundless rivalries. Honestly, it looks like a high school clique fight. All the while there are students with actual problems that need to be addressed, as well as people who simply joined societies to live out their passions and find those with similar ways of thinking, and then they must be faced with petty quarrels.

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From the editor: Give thanks

What’s the difference between a pizza and a BA degree?... A pizza can feed a family of four.

Luckily for me I don’t have a family of four, but I’ve got that degree now and I can feed myself. #Winning.

In all seriousness though, at my graduation ceremony I really got the full impact of what we are all out here to do. To see everyone so happy with beaming parents and proud family members, all the hard work you put in is all worth it. We have to use times like these to reflect on what we are after and what it all means. Of course, it also makes you think of all the people that have sacrificed their resources, advice, love and care to make sure you get there. So from my side I would like to thank my family for getting me where I am today.

Congratulations to all those who graduated with me in this graduation season, and for those still working towards their graduation, keep pushing. It’s worth it.

With all these achievements, I looked at the content this week, and one of the things that stood out was UP’s Open Day. From a work point of view, Open Day was an important event for introducing prospective students to all that university has to offer. My own Open Day in 2012 was where I got my first few copies of Perdeby, where I was introduced to different fields of study that I never knew existed before, and because of this I ended up in a completely different direction that I was initially intending. Importantly, it is also a time for those who have never seen a university to see it and aspire to one-day finish with a degree. Perhaps this Virtual Online open day needs to be more carefully considered as those who are affected by poverty, for example, may not be able to access this new system. Obviously the Virtual Online open day is not a bad idea. It means that those who can’t make it will have access to see what the university has to offer, but I would argue that it takes the voice of the students out of the ideas people have about university.

Read more: From the editor: Give thanks

Who’s the fake news

In Perdeby’s 12 March edition we published an article titled “SRC calls for first quarter student forum meeting” on the student forum meeting set to take place on the evening of 27 March. We approached the SRC for their plan of action so we could include some of this information in the article, as well as verify some facts we had already included. We received no response. The lack of response was indicated in the article as per section 1.8 of the South African Press Code.

But then Perdeby was mentioned in a tweet by SRC Secretary Soraia Machado claiming that we had published false information. This tweet was then responded to by the official twitter account of the SRC in which the SRC accused Perdeby of being “fake news”.

I find it highly problematic that a structure that is supposed to be an example of leadership on campus resorts to petty name calling on social media when it is clear their house is not in order when it comes to communication. It is even more worrying that they would use the term “fake news” when they don’t like what they read in the media. So this week I’ll use my editorial to give you the facts. On 21 February, SRC President Kwena Moloto, Perdeby news editor Ditebogo Tshaka and I had a meeting to discuss an already unfolding communication failure from the SRC’s side. Moloto agreed that there is a communication failure and cited the large volume of information they are faced with on a daily basis. Moloto suggested that we set up a WhatsApp group to better facilitate communication between Perdeby and the SRC.

This WhatsApp group includes myself, news editor Ditebogo Tshaka, SRC President Kwena Moloto, SRC Secretary Soraia Machado, SRC Deputy-secretary Kutlwano Mositi, and SRC member in charge of Marketing, Media and Communications Kyle Goosen. After the SRC posted on Facebook on 5 March that they would be holding a student forum, Tshaka contacted Mositi since he posted the message on behalf of the SRC. After not receiving a response, Tshaka sent a message on the SRC/Perdeby Coms Group that asked “Please send the SRC’s Plan of Action for the student. [sic]” on 8 March. Mositi responded and said “@Kwena please send it”. On 9 March, Tshaka sent an email to Moloto and posted on the WhatsApp group “@Kwena you’ve got mail” to notify the SRC that we had sent them an email. Tshaka contacted Moloto to inform him that we had until 17:00 to add comment before we went to print. We did not receive the plan of action in time to go to print, nor have we received it since then. The paper went to print on the evening of Friday 9 March.

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I hope everyone had a lovely glorified study break. I switched off for a day or two and then I was magically back on campus feeling insufficiently rested but excited to be midway to halfway through the year. It has been quite a while since our last edition, so quite a bit has happened. If you follow us on social media you would have seen that the first quarter student forum sadly collapsed. It is clear that the current climate on campus revolves around a communication problem between multiple parties. As we saw in my last editorial, we have our own problems with communication regarding the SRC.

Thankfully we got one or two comments out of them this week, but I still haven’t heard about any apology. I won’t continue talking about this week after week, so don’t stress, but I do find the lack of accountability and transparency regarding this SRC sad. But more than that, our lead article this week came from some complaints that some sources had for Perdeby about not being included in the loop. This year we have the chance to amend the CSG, a document that has recently given some leadership structures on campus some difficulties with its perhaps outdated pedantics. This process is something that the SRC has control over. It takes a two thirds majority in an SRC meeting to submit an amendment to Council for approval. They don’t have to include the rest of the students in this process, but thankfully they did. I understand the need for urgency as there are deadlines that need to be met, but I tend to agree that this matter was ill handled. In any case, this all would have been easier if the first quarter student forum did not collapse.

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