SRC calls for mandate from students at mass meeting

CHAD JOHNSTON
On 27 October, the SRC called a mass meeting at the amphitheatre of the Hatfield campus to discuss UP’s proposed fee increments. On 23 October, the SRC posted on Facebook that they had had a meeting with UP management to discuss UP’s proposed 8% increase in tuition fees as well as the 9.3% increase in residence fees and the 9.8% increase of residence food. The meeting was attended by approximately 350 students.

The meeting began with students singing, dancing and chanting in the amphitheatre. SRC President, Kwena Moloto, then addressed the crowd and thanked them for attending. Before the matter of fees could be discussed, a student asked for the removal of Kyle Goosen, the SRC representative for Marketing Media and Communications. Goosen is facing an internal disciplinary for calling Moloto a N***er. Moloto tried to steer the discussion back to the issue of fee increments at the university.

Moloto emphasised that the meeting was called exclusively to discuss fees and stressed that the SRC rejects the proposed increases. He continued to say that “food prices on campus and at [residences] need to go down”. Moloto then invited the general student body to “provide the SRC with a mandate”. Students from various political societies such as EFFSC, PASMA, PYA and SASCO all rejected the proposed increments. The SRC was then asked for their response to another video which circulated social media on 26 October. In the video, two UP students repeatedly use the k-word. Moloto responded by confirming that the two students have been suspended.

Moloto acknowledged that there are various issues facing students at UP but urged students to stick to the topic of fees and asked for suggestions regarding the SRC’s mandate. He continued to say that the mandate will be taken to a meeting with UP’s Council which is scheduled for 1 November. Moloto also told the crowd that “a shutdown does not work” and emphasised that many students are affected negatively by a shutdown. Some students criticised the SRC and questioned their commitment to the students. One student said that he felt that the SRC had “given up” on students and called for the SRC to be more “proactive” in their approach to addressing the needs of students.

SRC Treasurer, Duane van Wyk, addressed students and called for an alternative to a shutdown. Some students called for the SRC to give them a mandate saying that they will either “support” or “reject” the SRC leadership depending on the mandate proposed. Former TSC deputy chairperson, Thabo Shingange, suggested that the SRC focus on the “internal issues” at the university. There were also unified calls for Goosen to be suspended.

Eventually, a mandate was drafted and read out to students by SRC Secretary, Soraia Machado. The demands are as follows:

  1. 0% increase in 2018 tuition fees.
  2. Call on the vice-chancellor, Prof. Cheryl de la Rey to publicly ask for the Fees Commission Report to be released.  
  3. No registration fees.
  4. NSFAS students should get immediate placement in res.
  5. We reject the 9,3% increment for accommodation and the 9,8% for food.
  6. Res students should be allowed to use their meal cards all over campus, not just Kloostersaal. 
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