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SRC holds first mass meeting

Resego Molele

On 23 April, the SRC announced on their official Facebook page that they would be hosting a mass meeting on 8 May at the Piazza, Hatfield campus. However, on 8 May the SRC posted that the mass meeting had been postponed “due to health reasons of an executive member and other unforeseen circumstances”. Shortly after this, another announcement was posted saying that the meeting would take place at 13:30. “Please note [that] previous communications can be ignored,” the announcement read. As stated on a Facebook post, the agenda of the meeting was for “students to come forward with any issues they have”.

Chapter 7, Section 48 subsection (2) of the CSG states, “Mass meetings must be attended by all the members of the executive committee of the SRC and at least five (5) other members of the SRC. Failure of the aforementioned SRC members to attend a Mass Meeting is a violation of the Code of Conduct.” The meeting was presided over by 3 executive members: SRC Secretary, Soraia Machado; SRC Deputy Secretary, Kutlwano Molotsi; and SRC Treasurer, Duane-Jeffery van Wyk. Also in attendance were Media, Marketing & Communications SRC member, Kyle Goosen and SRC member for Postgraduates & International Student Affairs, Jodie Chikowi. The absence of all executive members of the SRC made the mass meeting unconstitutional. “Although it is unconstitutional, any issues raised here will be taken with the serious intent that is needed for it,” said Machado.

According to Section 23, subsection 2(b)(v) of the CSG, the SRC President “Must attend and do whatever is reasonably necessary to ensure the success of mass meetings and presides over mass meetings.” Section 23, subsection 2(d)states that “During any period of absence of the President and Deputy President or inability to perform their duties for whatever reason, the SRC Secretary acts as President.” In this case, Machado acted as President of the SRC.

Read more: SRC holds first mass meeting

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 to distribute condoms on campus

Henri Uys

By the end of May this year, male and female condoms will be available for staff and students on all UP campuses and residences. The condoms that will be made available are the South African Government’s Max condoms.

According to a statement by the CSA&G, “in 2016, there were 1,320 Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) related visits and 9,321 contraceptive-related visits at Student Health Services, confirming that sexual activity is commonplace and that students are interested in preventing pregnancy. Beyond contraceptives and the morning after pill, UP also has a memorandum of understanding in place with Amato, an external pregnancy support service to support students who fall pregnant. Sex, HIV, STIs and pregnancy are part and parcel of UP life, and are typical of similar institutions in South Africa”.

Perdeby spoke to Johan Maritz, senior manager of New Business Development & Special Projects at the CSA&G, on the new condom distribution programme. According to Maritz, condoms at UP were not widely available. Previously, condoms were only available at the offices of the CSA&G and at Student Health Services. With the installation of the condom dispensers, it is envisaged that condoms will be more widely available to staff and students.

Read more: UP to distribute condoms on campus

UP in possession of possible Rembrandt

Ricardo Teixeira

The 107-year-old Old Arts building at the University of Pretoria was once a building that held lectures and is now a museum and the head of the Arts Faculty. As a museum, it holds hundreds of ceramic pieces and several art collections. Among these is the Van Tilburg art collection, within it is a specific painting with an interesting history. Number 16 of the Van Tilburg art collection is long rumoured to be a Rembrandt. Believed to be the Portrait of a Rabbi, its authenticity is disputed as the premier expert on Rembrandt art, Ernst Van de Wetering, could not confirm if it truly was a Rembrandt.

Born in 1606, Rembrandt van Rijn was a Dutch painter, printmaker and draughtsman. Seen by many as one of the greatest visual artists in art history and the most influential Dutch artist of all time, Rembrandt’s work has been seen by millions. The Rembrandt Research Project believes he created roughly 300 paintings, 300 etchings and approximately 2000 drawings, during his lifetime.

There are some reasons as to why some would deem Number 16 to not be authentic. One of the major reasons is because the painting has been glazed. It is possible that it was glazed to help preserve it, however it removes the ability to identify a painting by brush strokes. It is due to this reason that Van de Wetering could not say if it truly is a Rembrandt. There are also several versions and copies of the painting, and there is a possibility that one of Rembrandt’s students could have copied the painting while being taught at his studio. The painting is possibly one of nine authentic pieces, all believed to be different versions of Portrait of a Rabbi, including a sketch. One of the pieces famously belonged to the Rothschild family until 1922, when it was donated to the Louvre. The piece in the university’s possession however, was willed to UP in 1976 by Jacob van Tilburg.

Read more: UP in possession of possible Rembrandt

Action taken against Kyle Goosen for racial slur

Koketso Ngwenya

On 18 October 2017, SRC member for Marketing Media and Communications Kyle Goosen apologised in a Facebook post for the use of a racial slur against SRC president Kwena Moloto by referring to him as a n***er during an SRC team building exercise. This incident took place on the night of 15 September 2017, the night before a Department of Student Affairs (DSA) camp when the SRC members were conducting a team building exercise. The use of a racial slur (N-word) occurred when the SRC was instructed to role play different stereotypical greetings of various nationalities. According to Kyle Goosen, the instructor then portrayed himself as an American gangster. Goosen then mimicked the instructor’s physical portrayal of a “typical” American gangster and said “what’s up my n***a” to Moloto.

A source who wished to remain anonymous reported the use of the racial slur to the DSA as per Section 27 (2) of the Constitution of Student Governance. The DSA referred the complaint to The Constitutional Tribunal for the Tribunal to carry out an investigation of the complaint in accordance with Section 27 (3) of the CSG. The Tribunal referred the matter back to the Director of Student Affairs, Dr Matete Madiba, and the outcomes mandated that Goosen should publicly apologise and that an internal disciplinary process be instituted by the SRC and overseen by Dr Madiba. On 27October 2017, Moloto confirmed to Perdeby that “a mediation process then ensued between Mr Goosen and the plaintiff [and that] the SRC will also be instituting an internal disciplinary” according to the recommendation made by the Tribunal. The Constitutional Tribunal Chief, Justice Antonie Klopper, said that the initial investigation into the nature of the complaint that was carried out by the Constitutional Tribunal of 2017 was not done diligently and that a mediation process was initiated instead. “The process of section 27 of the CSG and an internal disciplinary are two different processes.

The initial process of section 27 rather than the SRC Code of Conduct was, therefore, completed, as stipulated in section 27, in 2018 by the Director [of] Student Affairs,” said Klopper. The Constitutional Tribunal of 2017 recommended that Kyle Goosen make a public apology, which he made in a Facebook post and that the SRC institute an internal disciplinary process. However, according to Klopper, Section 27 of the CSG was initiated rather than the recommended internal disciplinary process that was to be instituted by the SRC. The recommendation made by The Constitutional Tribunal of 2017 that the SRC institute an internal disciplinary process did not take place. However, Section 27 states that upon receipt of the report of the investigation into the legality and nature of the complaint from the Constitutional Tribunal, the Director of Student Affairs then has to exercise her powers to make “an appropriate order”. “The Constitutional Tribunal has only given procedural advice and will always respect the decisions of the executive if they are taken within their powers and are procedurally fair,” Klopper said. The matter was initially not to be carried out as an internal disciplinary process since the complainant was not an SRC member.

Read more: Action taken against Kyle Goosen for racial slur

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