[EXPOSED] UJ-APK’s SASCO is on the brink of a Crisis and “Is Bleeding and Becoming Weaker and Weaker…”

By Magnificent Mndebele

The Open Journal’s Investigative Unit infiltrated UJ’s Central Student Representative Council and APK’s SASCO, and has come across information that SASCO is on the brink of a Cold War with its affiliates due to the looming tension that they desperately tried to hide from the public.

“SASCO is bleeding and it’s becoming weaker and weaker because of people who are power-mongers within the organisation, [people] who are willing to compromise everything including the students themselves that they claim to represent,” says Ratele Refiloe, an ANC Youth League convener.

Quotes to digest…

“SASCO is bleeding and it’s becoming weaker and weaker…”

“SASCO is siding with the management of the university for the sake of having power”

“Everything that EMCA did was incorrect… EMCA did not read the UJ Constitution…”

SASCO’s leaders and its affiliates have tried at least three times to gain positions for its representatives to fill certain portfolios but this was done in vain due to its Cold War that is likely to intensify.

“It does worry me because at the end of the day we are all divided [and] the next thing people are going to be contesting each other when they all know that SASCO is the student organisation, even the MDM tells us that SASCO is the only one that needs to contest,” says the Secretary of UJ-APK SASCO Branch, Palesa Molefe.

Currently, UJ does not have united campus members or a stable Central-SRC because of the on-going disputes.

Head to head: Betrayals of Forces

The Open Journal’s Investigative Unit understands that SASCO is the only recognised body that represents the students at UJ. However, SASCO’s affiliates within the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), namely: Young Communist League and ANC Youth League have entered into an agreement of sharing positions within the SRC.

The agreement states that SASCO and its affiliates should equally share positions based on the so-called Four-Four Masihlalisane. Each party must have four members representing them in the SRC. However, the other affiliates strongly accused SASCO members of betraying and compromising the agreement.

“SASCO is siding with the management of the university for the sake of having power”

“The PYA had a resolution before elections about how we are going to work. So, the arrangement went down to positions as who’s going to get what, and we’ve agreed. When that had to happen SASCO comes and says they did not know of the agreement and they will do things their own way,” says the ANC Youth League Convener, Ratele Refiloe.

The secretary of UJ-APK SASCO Branch, Palesa Molefe denies that SASCO may be violating the Four-Four Masihlalisane agreement and abusing its power due to it being the only recognised student movement by the institution.

“I don’t think it’s an abuse of power. You must understand that within the Alliance there is no set Constitution, so whatever decisions are there do not specifically bind SASCO,” she says.

The heavily criticized EMCA accused of being unconstitutionally

When the Secretary of UJ-APK SASCO Branch, Palesa Molefe was asked about the Four-Four Masihlalisa agreement she said: “No Comment.” Molefe is the one who unleashed a dispute on the first constituting of positions and Molefe is amongst those who are accused of wanting to grip power.

READ RELATED ARTICLE: Corruption incites EFFSC and DASO to boycott elections

Molefe says she unleashed a dispute by sending an email averting the constituting because there was an agreement that the constituting should have started at 2.p.m on the 18th of April 2017 but EMCA subsequently changed the time-slot of constituting to 11 a.m.

“Everything that [the] EMCA did was incorrect… EMCA did not read the UJ Constitution when it came to such things. You can’t be sending the wrong communique to a branch secretary. I do not think they liaised with Student Affairs about the list [of members who are elected to occupy the various positions],” says Molefe while explaining her unhappiness about EMCA.

EMCA’s Project Manager, Parmalat Ukatu said: “What I know is that EMCA followed all the correct procedures to get the job done.”

UJ’s Student Affairs may be abusing its power on student politics

After the initial dispute which Molefe confirmed to have requested the first constituting which unfolded on the 18th of April to be pre-empted because of time confusion. Again, on the 20thof April 2017, there was another constituting but other newly elected SRC members accused Student Affairs to be directly dictating the processes meanwhile it should be playing an observer role.

Quotes to digest…

“SRC is being held at ransom and it is prejudicing the interests of the students who voted us into office”

“…for him to be there as a President he was a spy for the VC (Vice Chancellor)”

“…please don’t ask me how I was an SRC [for] more than 2terms while you know I am an African child.”

On the second constituting only two members attended there to sign yet Section 11.1.1 of the SRC Constitution states that at least seven people should be there before it meets its constitutional merits. Therefore, the department of Student Affairs “legitimised this inconsistent and illegitimate process.”

“This is foul play as the department of Student Affairs is directly involved in the politics of the Progressive Youth Alliance and thus further creating a conflict of interest,” reads an email which The Open Journal’s Investigative Unit obtained that was sent to the Prof Ihron Rensburg.

“… SRC is being held at ransom and it is prejudicing the interests of the students who voted us into office,” the email further reads.

The third reconstituting which was scheduled to take place on the 25th of April did not take place either as it is said that the Department of Student Affairs said there is a new constitution which therefore endorses SASCO to independently elect its SRC members without considering the PYA Four-Four Masihlalisane.

However, many SRC members are not aware of the so-called new constitution that the Department of Student Affairs is said to have introduced.

“… this is the struggle of the Constitutions between the one that we know and the one that is being enforced,” comments a Central SRC member, Takalane Mutsharini while explaining the misunderstanding created by the so-called new constitution.

EMCA’s Project Manager also confirmed that EMCA did not receive any new SRC Constitution.

The legit Constitution was adopted on the 18th of September 2014, and for an amendment or a clause within the Constitution UJ Parliament must sit in, but that has never happened which strongly suggests that the so-called new Constitution could be fabricated.

“SRC is being held at ransom and it is prejudicing the interests of the students who voted us into office”

Hasan and the Student Affairs are accused of gambling the student politics

The heavily disputed so-called new Constitution which has caused SASCO and its affiliates to face the brink of simmering tensions, the Chairperson of SASCO at UJ-APK, Sabelo Mpangani states that the former President of SRC Hasan Abdulaahi Maalin which The Open Journal’s Investigative Unit understands to have been appointed by the management (Student Affairs) to be the president, is alleged to be the one who signed the new clauses of the Constitution.

“The person who knows everything about the clauses is the former President Hasan Abdullahi Maalin… that man is the one who caused all of this and that man is playing other dirty politics…,” says APK-SASCO chairman, Mpangani.

“That man is always with the management and we must remember that man was not elected to be the president. His appointment you can was a sell-out… for him to be there as a President he was a spy for the VC (Vice Chancellor),” adds Mpangani.

Hasan and some Student Affairs representatives
Hasan’s Facebook photograph which he posted on the 16th of April 2017 with some Student Affairs representatives. Photo was taken from Facebook.

Hasan’s Facebook photograph which he posted on the 16th of April 2017 with some Student Affairs representatives is accompanied with a description that says “…I enjoyed working with you despite the challenges. But one thing they will remember is my meetings chairing or presiding….and pls don’t ask me how I was an SRC more than 2terms while you know I am an African child.”

Hasan Abdullahi Maalin’s mobile phone was off when contacted and he could not be reached when going for publication of the story.

 

“Corruption” incites EFFSC and DASO To Boycott The 2017 UJ-APK Elections

By Magnificent Mndebele and Gaby Ndongo

A possible ‘default’ of the SRC 29th-30th of March election from both the EFF and DASO branches of the APK campus will result in SASCO inevitably winning. Both political students’ representative bodies have maintained that an inextricable level of corruption is directly linked to the election and is at the core of their motivation for not participating.

Why is EFFSC boycotting the elections?

The EFF APK branch has argued that the nature of corruption is inexorably affecting the election processes. Amongst other elements, the Constitution has no provision for a proportional representational system. In other words, it is a ‘winner takes all situation’, where the party that wins a majority, no matter the number constituting this majority, gets all the seats.

Precisely, the system does not allow for any EFF or DASO member to be an SRC member if SASCO wins the majority votes. For this reason, both parties consider it useless to a large extent for them to contest. “As the EFF, we will not legitimize an illegitimate process, and we as the EFF won’t give legitimacy towards an illegitimate structure at the Rand Universiteit van Johannesburg,” said the chairman of the EFF student council at the APK branch Zwelakhe Mahlamvu.

“Electorate body EMCA not independent”

Another aspect the chairman highlighted was the electorate body facilitating the election: Election Consulting Agency which is commonly known as EMCA (Elections Consulting Agency of Africa) that is not solely independent. Moreover, Mahlamvu emphasized that, “The SRC election, the whole entire process, and the facilitation of the process is very corrupt and it has traces of cryptocracy in the manner that the SRC election facilitator is merely used as a means for [the University’s] management and other cryptocracy members of management to loot more funds . . .” The chairman went on to note the lack of impartiality and independence the facilitator has as an election conductor which makes it more facile for the election to be biased.

DASO Joins “Radical People”

It is very imminent that the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) will join the EFFSC by boycotting the 2017 elections. The PR of DASO, Welcome Nkabinde said, “the elections at UJ are not constitutional because the constitution states that the elections must be conducted on a PR system (Proportional Representation), but here at UJ they use a totalism (sic) system which means whoever wins takes all the seats.”At the time of the interview, a letter was yet to be typed and submitted.

The Secretary of DASO, Phumzile Mavimbela said they only took “affirmative action’s today, however, there has been ongoing talks.” Mavimbela said DASO decided to take ‘affirmative action’ because previously there had been negotiations with the management and other relevant stakeholders to implement a PR system, but surprisingly they discovered that the stakeholders said they will only adopt 80 percent of the PR constitutional system. For this reason, it incited DASO to be keen to join ‘radical people.’

“It is apparent that the EFF is boycotting the elections, so if we were to boycott the elections we would form a coalition with the people who are boycotting,” Mavimbela said. “We represent our people and we know what is best for our people.  Our people comply with the decisions we make. We cannot confirm yet whether we are for sure going to pull out or not.” But she reaffirmed the pull-out by saying that, “for now there no reason for not pulling out.”

She articulates that the system is not being fair on them because the electoral facilitating company, (EMCA) was founded by a politically affiliated individual, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Mavimbela further alleges that EMCA is the same as IEC as she says most of EMCA’s workers are previous employees of the IEC.

“IEC is ANC, we all know that.  They facilitated last year’s elections but the results were rigged. How can elections be rigged while an independent commission is facilitating them? The voters roll and the voter’s turnout did not match last year. Ballot boxes were tampered with, they didn’t match and we didn’t sign for those… but the results were accepted by the institution, so how is that democratic?” asks Mavimbela.

The Open Journal understands that DASO lodged their complaint and they were told for the PR system to be fully amended at least three parties must reach a consensus. Two parties have already agreed but “there is one person who holds managerial power who is problematic,” said Mavimbela who was not inclined in revealing the person who is said to be “problematic” because it was discussed in a closed-meeting.

SASCO sees no flaw with the system

The chairman of the accused SASCO at APK, Sabelo Mpangani said, “the opposition will always make sure to tell people things that will defy us because they know that we have been in power for 15 years. If we were not in power this campus would have been run by either EFF or DASO but our people when they go to the ballot paper they make the right choice by voting for us.”

“Even from January, we were here to make sure that we serve our students by ensuring our students get accommodation, fees and today we were at the student finance to try to manage the situation whereby more than 235 students were nearly kicked out of their accommodations. Where was DASO, where was EFF?” adds Mpangani.

SASCO is not against the currently contested system of rule which says a party that wins will assume complete power. To put that into perspective, if SASCO gets 702 votes and an opposition gets 700 votes, SASCO will automatically qualify and assume power and all the seats.

“That is a very key strategy because the SRC cannot be governed by two different organisations.  [One institution must govern it] so that we work along, we meet our goals as an organisation. If it’s two different organisations we won’t have the same opinions and views, that is why the SRC will be fighting each other,” said Mpangani.

REVEALED: Onwabile allegedly obeyed Paul Mashatile’s orders to stop the fees protests

By Magnificent Mndebele and Gaby Ndongo

The president of the Student Representative Council at the University of Johannesburg, Onwabile Lubhelwana denies all the allegations posed to him that he may have received instructions from a high-ranking ANC figure to stop the FeesMustFall protests.

The Phone Call 

A source who is part of the SRC and who has inside knowledge, asked to speak on condition of anonymity which the Open Journal has independently verified the position that the source holds within the SRC, alleges that Lubhelwana received a phone call from the Gauteng African National Congress chairperson and MEC of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Paul Mashatile, that instructed Lubhelwana to stop the UJ fees protests, and thereof he obeyed the orders.

“From my knowledge, the first couple of days the president did lead the protest until he was called by the member of the ANC to stop what he was doing,” the source said.

Apologising to lead the UJ fees protests

Soon after the fees protests decayed, the Open Journal had learned that Members of the Executive Council (MEC) at UJ held a meeting with all members of the SRC.

“The MEC sent a request to hold a meeting.The focal point of the meeting on the 7th [of October] was about the private security guards (bouncers), finance- the trust fund that UJ offers to students and we also discussed NSFAS, and just the financial position of the university,” the source stated.

In that meeting, Lubhelwana is alleged to have apologised to the Vice Chancellor, Professor Ihron Rensburg, and the MECs “with the way he conducted himself and the strike.”

“In the meeting, I kept quiet because he was apologising on his behalf, not on our behalf. I did not apologise at all, I am unapologetic,” the source explained.

After weeks of investigation the Open Journal has received a list of the SRC members who attended the meeting, including the Deputy President of the SRC, Justina Komana. When Komana was asked about Onwabile’s apologies for leading the protests she giggled for a while and said, “I can’t answer that, I think you [should] engage the president on that and ask him.”

“I’ve been attending meetings with the VC (Vice Chancellor) and I don’t recall any scenario where the president had to apologise to the VC unless he did it privately, but I am not aware of that information,” Komana added.

Internal conflicts within the SRC

The entire structure of the SRC on all campuses at UJ is made up of SA Student Congress (SASCO) majority, and now frustrations begin to mount among other SASCO members that Lubhelwana could have interests that deviate from SASCO or the SRC constituency.

“In my personal capacity I do not recognise the SRC, for obvious reasons,” Aluwani Chokoe, a 2015-2016 former treasurer of SASCO at UJ-APK said in a giggly tone. “You can’t be elected to represent students yet you turn a blind eye to the outcry of the students,” she said while referring to Lubhelwana.

Despite the controversies, Komana said she still has confidence in President Lubhelwana because of his “strong leadership skills.”

Lubhelwana admitted to the Open Journal that the SRC is not performing efficiently and there are internal battles in the SRC.

A shot to topple Onwabile from power

Lubhelwana said all these allegations are means of further dividing the structure of the SRC and some of his colleagues want to topple him from power.

When the allegations were once again firmly asked, he denied having to deliver any form of apology to the management.

“I never met the VC alone. I am the first president to refuse meeting prof Ihron Rensberg alone because it allows the space for people to lie, so I call everyone to be [present when meetings are held],” Lubhelwana said.

With the perception maintained by several students leaders that he is a spy due to his tactic of “selling out the SRC by apologizing to the university’s management”. The president asked, “Which spy gets a criminal record; which spy allows themselves to be arrested . . . beaten up [or] . . . sleeps in the hospital?”

“The students who feel betrayed are the students who when others marched: they watched and took pictures”, said Lubhelwana when asked about the promise he made to not disappoint the aspirations of UJ students on the morning of the 27th of September during a consultative meeting leading to the protest.

Nonetheless, he postulates that “The students who were there understand why it was difficult for us [the SRC] to continue; they understand that when others get arrested . . . assaulted . . . pepper sprayed there are some who are watching”. Hence, the need for collective reactions and actions is vital amongst UJ students because the formal interaction is not the ‘only way’ to deal with the crisis that students are facing.

With the allegation of being mentored and instructed by Mashatile to stop the fees protests, Lubhelwana said,“There is never a time when you are told how to lead the people who have elected you . . . [and] I was never called [by anyone] to stop the protest.” He added that if he had ever done that he ‘would be betraying the Constitution of the SRC and the students themselves.’

After erratic and evasive responses, Lubhelwana said Mashatile had never called him to stop the protests. However, he revealed to have met Mashatile and other ministers to discuss ‘governance matters,’ saying that meeting government [officials ] is a prerequisite [in order] to [be able to] lead [an] institution like UJ.

Questions about the allegations of Mashatile’s influence on the UJ fees protests were sent to the media liaison officer and official spokesman of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Mogomotsi Mogodiri, but since then there has been no reply despite the promise to be answered promptly.

BREAKING NEWS: Did UJ Clear Students’ Debts?

By Magnificent Mndebele

A considerable number of students are thunderstruck after their Financial Statements revealed that their debts have been cleared off.

Following the FeesMustFall Movement at UJ’s sister University, Wits, the University of Johannesburg called for a meeting with the Student Representative Council during recess, but the request was declined by the SRC.

Earlier today the SRC and SASCO have called for a mass meeting tomorrow which will take place at 12 o’clock mid-day. But this meeting will be launched once the SRC have met with political leaders of different political parties   at 9 o’clock in the morning.

Following the promulgation of a message which calls for a mass meeting tomorrow, the University of Johannesburg has then cleared off current and previous debts of students.

“We note the tricks of the University of Johannesburg of trying to confuse you regarding your financial standings with the University. As the leadership we are still calling on the University to deal away with student debt,” a statement from UJ- SRC reads.

“In fact students have a right to know their financial information. We demand the financial button on the student portal to be taken back with immediate effect,” the statement continues.

It is still not clear whether the University of Johannesburg has purposefully removed the financial information button or it is just a technical glitch.

The University of Johannesburg was not available for comments regarding the financial information button and the clearance of students’ debts.