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On 23 March, the National Treasury will be unpacking the 2017 budget for students and staff at UP. The speaker of the event will be Deputy Director General for Budget, Michael Sachs. According to Thabisa Whittington, the National Treasury communication officer of the Director General’s Office, “The aim of the programme is to engage with various stakeholders on the budget that includes universities and also encourage the debate necessary on various socioeconomic issues that are budget related.”
The event will be hosted in HB 4-1 at 12:00.
Dr George Frederik Liebenberg, a senior lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development at the UP was shot and killed at his Vaalbank home outside Bronkhorstspruit on Friday evening. Liebenberg joined the Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development in 2010.
According to a News24 article titled, “No arrests yet after UP lecturer shot dead at home”, published on 14 March, national police spokesperson Colonel Lungelo Dlamini, was quoted as saying that that Liebenberg was shot in the upper body through a window, while working on his computer. He added that Liebenberg’s body was found the next morning by workers and that there were no signs of forced entry. According to Dlamini, no arrests had been made, and initial investigations indicated that Liebenberg was attacked by unknown persons. UP Media Relations were not available for comment, however UP spokesperson Rikus Delport, was quoted by News24 saying “everybody at the university was in total shock at the news of Liebenberg’s murder.” “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends,” added Delport. A memorial service for Liebenberg is to be held on Thursday, 23 March.
On 25 March, Tuks Rag will host the RAG of Hope Day Benefit Concert on the Rag Farm “in order to raise funds to assist students through initiatives such as food hampers and fees”.
According to Rag chairperson, Roahan Gouws, some of the proceeds from the concert will go to students that need assistance the most. “This will be done by opening a communication channel for students to come to us with this particular need and we will then allocate food hampers accordingly. We also plan to use some of the money to allocate to students to help them with books and funding,” he said. Gouws hopes that the concert will have a large turnout to fulfil the Rag 2017 vision of Ubuntu, “where students are assisting other students.”
Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) was observed from 6 to 12 March in 250 cities, communities, and campuses around the world. Various organisations at UP hosted events throughout the week to create awareness around the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has lasted several decades. The initiative has been running consecutively for 13 years and has grown a lot according to Yusuf Hassim, chairperson of the UP Muslim Students Association (MSA). Hassim said that the aim of the MSA with regard to IAW “is to create a unified and massified[sic] support for Palestine and to create awareness of the atrocities they are facing on a daily basis”. “This is no[t] [an] Arab issue, Muslim issue or Jewish issue, the issue at hand is simply a humanitarian issue,” he said. The South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) Tuks Branch hosted events in conjunction with Stand with Us International. SAUJS released a statement in which they set out their goals: “to tell the full story of the conflict and counter the half-truths peddled by the opposing side in order to give students and lecturers alike a different perspective on how lasting peace can be achieved between Palestinians and Israelis”.
Events surrounding IAW were held at several campuses last week, including the University of the Free State, the University of the Witwatersrand, University of Johannesburg, and Stellenbosch University.
Photo: Kaylyn O’Brien.
On 9 March, the TSC held a fundraising event by having a “blikskud” (begging) event on Lynnwood Road outside UP’s main entrance “as a means of approaching the public in order to raise funds towards students in need, and even more so [to] raise awareness on the lack of funding for needy students”.
In what served as the launch of the TSC’s fundraising campaign, TSC members held tin cans and asked motorists for money in peak hour traffic, starting from 07:00.
According to a media statement, this was part of a two-fold fundraising approach done “to raise public awareness on the lack of funds to support needy students, especially after many qualifying students’ applications were rejected by NSFAS and the burden now falls on the university and the TSC to help these students. To blatantly turn these students away, was not an option and the TSC decided to take an alternative and positive approach to raising funds”.
According to TSC chairperson, Henrico Barnard, the event raised R2 000 in 2 hours.
The money that was collected during the event will go into the SRC Study Aid Fund to assist students who have or are going to approach the TSC for financial aid.
Photo: Kaylyn O’Brien