SRC calls for first quarter student forum meeting

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that all questions for the SRC student forum meeting should be submitted by 21 March 2017. Instead, all questions for the SRC student forum meeting should be submitted by 26 March 2017. The article has since been corrected and Perdeby apologises for any inconvenience caused. 

 

Ditebogo Tshaka

On 5 March, the SRC announced on Facebook that they would be holding their first quarter student forum meeting as stipulated by section 41 of the Constitution for Student Governance (CSG). The student forum is made of the SRC, heads of faculty houses, societies and house committee members of residence and day houses. The meeting will be held on 27 March at the Sanlam Auditorium from 17:30 to 20:00. The post stated that anyone who wishes to pose questions should submit them in writing to the SRC Secretary, Soraia Machado at least 48 hours before the meeting. According to section 41(e) of the CSG, the “questions posed to the SRC must be focused on a particular portfolio and must be directed at the SRC plan of action”. Perdeby asked the SRC for its plan of action several times since 5 March. At the time of going to print, none of these requests were answered. All questions should be submitted by 21 March at 17:00 to src.deputysecretary@tuks. co.za. The Forum is normally chaired by Chief Justice of the Constitutional Tribunal.

However, this year’s meeting will be chaired by the Deputy-Chief, Rethabile Shabalala as Antonie Klopper will not be in the country on that day. Klopper said that it is “important that the Constitutional Tribunal make sure that the SRC answers the questions posed to them and not merely brush them off”. Klopper mentioned that as the CSG is being amended this year, he would like the Forum to make suggestions regarding possible amendments, making the amendment procedure even more democratic. He noted that the Forum must be aware of its powers to make recommendations to the SRC regarding their plan of action as well as its power to identify and communicate shortcomings in the CSG to the Vice-Principal of Student Affairs and Residences, Prof. Themba Mosia, or the Director of Student Affairs, Dr Matete Madiba. “It is important to note that at this stage Student Forum is the only way for the greater student body to hold the SRC accountable throughout their term. I, therefore, stress the importance of having Student Forum not break down as it has done in the past.

The Forum is the way in which to make your grievances known, without it there is no other way except at the end of the SRC’s term by way of elections,” said Klopper. The last student forum was held on 5 May 2016. However, the Forum soon collapsed due to disruptions and the then SRC were not able to present their quarterly report or host a question and answer session with the floor. As reported by Perdeby on 16 May 2016, the disruption originated from EFFSCUP members refusing to recognise the SRC. The 2015 SRC president, Mosibudi “Rassie” Rasethaba said, “We don’t recognise the SRC.” The crowd demanded that the then-Chief Justice of the Constitutional Tribunal, Mia Labuschagne, explain to them in what capacity Thabo Shingange, the acting president of the SRC, was to present the report. When Shingange took to the podium, he was met with chants and songs from EFFSC-UP and Sasco members. Then EFFSC-UP Chairperson, Amos “Amla” Monageng went to the podium and switched the microphone off.

Labuschagne tried to restore order but interruptions continued and some students left. She tried to move the session onto discussing “matters of pressing concern to the student body and/or for the SRC”, but repeated chanting and arguing prevented her from doing so. Ultimately, the SRC, and representatives of the Tribunal left the meeting, effectively concluding the Forum. This was the only student forum meeting held in 2016.

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