Earlier this year, the SRC held a Student’s Forum where PDBY queried the campaign promises of SRC members that had not yet been fulfilled. As the 2021 SRC term comes to an end, PDBY followed up on unclear goals and promises from the SRC.

Most SRC members responded – however Njabulo Sibeko did not respond to messages and requests for comment despite having 10 working days to respond. Nothando Ngubeni said not to understand a request for proof or numbers to show how day-students funding has increased – which was her campaign promise.

The following questions were sent to the SRC for the Student Forum based on their 2020 campaign promises and the SRC’s end of term follow up questions and responses. Questions sent to SRC members who did not respond are stated here as well. Responses have been slightly edited for clarity.


LERATO NDLOVU: SRC President

How many policy making workshops with students have been held this year? Follow up: What were the plans and did they prove to be successful? Please state instances of workshops as promised in your manifesto. 

The office of the president engaged different private accommodations on the rape and sexual assault support process and aims to amend and improve it. Big policy and constitutional amendments will come in 2022.

How has the SRC’s relationship been strengthened with external entities (programmes with corporate world to direct mentorships and bursaries)? 

What came from the three private entities and what have you been able to achieve? Please include statistics of students assisted by each mentioned external entity and in what way they have been assisted.

A memorandum of understanding (MOU) is still being finalised (legalities). We hope to see fruition by the end of this year – if not, next year’s SRC will bear the fruits of the MOU.

What sensitivity training have SRC members had for sexuality and gender? Please offer an update on the success of the training. Which SRC members have been trained? When were these members trained? If any members have not been trained, why have they not been trained?

All members who work with the SRC GBV desk/email have been on #SpeakOut camp which was educating on all matters relating to gender and sexuality. They received further training and assistance from the transformation department.


JACO VAN JAARSVELD: SRC Secretary

When will the SRC ClickUP page start being used by the SRC as a way to communicate with students? For what reasons was the ClickUP page not implemented? How has the SRC liaised with the Department of Student Affairs (DSA) to discuss the prospects of installing such a page?

Innovation and education does not have a problem with the SRC communicating via the ClickUP page – ClickUP’s primary focus should be that of teaching and learning and not as a form of communication.

When will the update newspaper that is meant to be sent to students via email on a monthly basis be initiated? Please offer an update on the process. If it has not been achieved, please offer an explanation to the student body?

Follow ups regarding having a newsletter being sent via email to each student was weighed against a risk/benefit ratio. The costs involved were too much and not worth it having – the POPI Act would be involved. The newsletter is still in its development phase and this option can always be reviewed in years to come under different circumstances.


JOZIAS MAHUBE-REINECKE: SRC Treasurer

What steps have been taken to start the crowdfunding account aimed at alumni, businesses and the municipality? Please offer an update on the approached crowdfunding platforms. How has the crowdfunding idea come to fruition and helped students?

I am awaiting University guidelines and approval to put the SRC as
an entity on crowdfunding.

When will the crowdfunding account start operating? Has this been possible, if not why?

Once I have received the guidelines and the approval.

In what way have students been involved in financial decision making and fundraising? Has this been sorted out? In what ways have students been involved in financial decision making and fundraising? Please give examples. Could the SRC provide proof that such a form was shared?

A google form has not yet been released but will be released soon.


MELVIN VAN ROOYEN: Student/Study Finance

How much has been set aside to help solve students’ need for
financial advisers? During your manifesto presentation, you mentioned that there Is a need for funds to be set aside so that students can have contact with financial advisers. How much has been set aside to help solve students’ need for financial advisers?

The study finance officer has worked alongside the finance office and various help has been given on the student portal making the assistance digital. We greatly promote financial aid as the finance department has made this available for students already. Students can also contact the student finance officer for advice for funding opportunities which is already available – however this is still an ongoing process which is being worked on.

What solutions have been built with regard to concerns of financial holds, financial arrangements and registrations? Please provide statistics on how many students were helped and how students were prioritised.

Approximately 80% of students with the correct details submitted were able to apply for the study aid fund in the first semester. There were two roll outs to ensure that more students could be assisted. The UP SRC donated half of their budget to make the student aid fund possible. 100% of those who fit the criteria were assisted.


THUTO MASHILA: Transformation and Student Success

How has the #SaveTheSemester initiative been further developed? How is the counselling provided by the #SaveTheSemester initiative different from that provided by the UP counselling unit? Has the SRC liaised to provide more counselling services to students during exam times?

I stated that #SaveTheSemester is also going to focus on mental health. We had a few videos with the aim of assisting and or advising students. One of the videos was from the counselling unit that was aimed at giving advice with regards to handling stress during exam time. That is how the initiative tackled the issue of mental health. We are constantly in touch with the counselling unit to see how students can be assisted during the time of exams and in general. We try to emphasise that there are more ways and or channels of receiving counselling besides the counselling unit – but what also forms part of the unit is the 0800744 special hotline number that students can phone. We emphasise that students can also phone that number. Furthermore, if students are having challenges with receiving appointments, we follow it up with the head of the counselling unit.

How have res policies been transformed to help struggling students academically?

Thuto Mashila stated that they are in talks with Chané Williamson to adjust policy so that those who are disadvantaged are not discriminated against.

What was the outcome of talks with Chane Williamson? What policies have been adjusted?

At the moment we have the Institutional Culture Survey and in the survey. I, as the transformation officer, was there to ask key questions with regards to transformation and changes that need to take place with regards to residence policies. Only residence students are allowed to answer those specific questions as it pertains to them. Part four of the survey speaks to residence policies and residence surveys. The SRC urges all students to take that survey because it will speak to transformation in the university and residences – specifically the policies. The changes will be informed with the results of the survey among others. We thus urge every student to participate in the survey so that we can see tangible transformation. Statistics are required for transformation to take place.

How have self-defense classes been implemented? Please update on the initiative? Have pepper sprays been distributed, if so, to whom? If not, why? Has there been any talks/distribution efforts in private accommodations?

I have stated in the past that this initiative will take place in conjunction with the offices of RAG and Facilities, Safety and Security. We are still trying to gather funds but hopefully it will take place before the end of the final semester. Furthermore, we do believe that pepper spray does not really sort out the GBV / harassment crisis – however they can be very useful in this regard.

How has the office worked to overhaul res culture? How has the problem of inclusivity been sorted? What has the initiative achieved and how have students been involved? 

In the institutional culture survey as explained above. Students are urged to take the survey so that change can be implemented accordingly.


NJABULO SIBEKO: Facilities, Safety and Security

Sibeko, despite the SRC being given 10 working days (five days more than required), did not respond to questions directed to him. He did not respond to texts when contacted directly. For transparency, the following are the questions that were sent to Sibeko without responses.

What channels have been created for easier reporting?

The SRC saying that “it is better for a woman to deal with these issues” shows a one-sided view of GBV that only affects women. What has the SRC done to make sure male students know that they can utilise the email address when they are affected by GBV?

The member promised to create easier channels of reporting. While the GBV email address was created last year, what channels has the member been able to create as promised during the campaign?

Please offer statistics on how many students have reported cases of GBV and how many have been assisted successfully?

How does the reporting systemwork?

Who has access to the emails?

How is the person’s identity protected?

After an email is received, what steps are undertaken to help resolve the matter?

When will computers be available on campus 24/7?

In which residences have communal kitchens been introduced? Please update, this SRC’s term is almost over, have you received authorisation and if not, what was the reasoning behind it? If you have, when will it begin?

How has the office ensured that more female staff are visible at main access points? During the Student Forum, Sibeko stated that the goal was to reach this change by the end of July.

What was the outcome of the mentioned drafted request? Was this achievable by the end of July? If not, when will the idea come to fruition? Please elaborate on what the backlogs are, and what were some of the key points discussed in the draft request? Please may the SRC supply a copy of this draft proposal to PDBY?

In what ways has the office ensured that students feel safe on and off campus?

Where have panic buttons been installed?

What areas have been indicated as “vulnerable”?

What efforts did the SRC make to hold these student engagements, if this was not made, what caused the delay?
Can the SRC please supply proof to PDBY in the form of a draft proposal or any other relevant document that there was a dialogue engaged to implement panic buttons on campus?

How has the office increased the number of security guards at university residences?

Njabulo Sibeko stated that they had previously touched on it. In proposal we seek to draw up red crosses with areas without policing. Following which, more policing will try and be afforded there. Accordingly, security services will be distributed to say the outskirts of Hatfield.

Where have red crosses been drawn up and on what criteria were these areas classified as such?

Has more policing been provided in these areas, if not, why?

In what way has the office ensured that buses travel to external campuses more frequently?

Njabulo Sibeko stated at the Student Forum that they have consulted with various offices with regard to buses and have shown fruition at Groenkloof and Onderstepoort. Amendments will follow accordingly.

What were the improvements made? E.g., what were the number of buses before and what did the SRC do to increase this?

How has the office worked to ensure the establishment of green routes on all campuses?

Njabulo Sibeko stated that students are urged to contact the management centre to arrange for escorts.

How has the office made campuses more accessible for students with disabilities?

Njabulo Sibeko provided that the Department of Student Affairs has been contacted and architectural structures are being assessed.

Please offer updates on the assessment of architectural structures. Is campus more accessible? How? Could the SRC supply proof that an assessment was taken or attempted?


NOTHANDO NGUBENI: Day students and external campus affairs

What “open line of communication” has been created between day students and the SRC? Has the day house sub council been established? If not, why? Who sits on the house sub council?

The day house sub-council is a Constitutional amendment/addition from the office of Day Students and External Campus Affairs. Once the Constitution is finalised, the sub-council can be established.

What efforts have been made towards the eradication of membership fees for students who come from poor backgrounds?

Nothando Ngubeni stated that 60% of [her] budget is going towards day houses. The SRC will take it one step at a time.

What steps have been taken?

The funds are there, it will be announced soon on SRC social media platforms, however, we will look into working together with the day houses to assist day students so that they can also participate.

How much increase in funding for students in day houses has the SRC been able to provide?

Nothando Ngubeni said that 60% of the budget has been allocated to day houses.

Compared to the past, is this an increase? Show us how the budget has been increased please.

Ngubeni said that she did not understand this question. Ngubeni was later sent a text detailing what this question required from her – which was either the amount of money or a percentage that shows that this mentioned 60% is in fact an increase as this was her campaign promise. PDBY did not receivce a response.


What measures can students take against unkept campaign promises?

The Department of Student Affairs (DSA) explained what action students can take to hold SRC members who did not keep their promises accountable. The director of student affairs, Dr Matete Madiba, said “Our focus is not on campaign promises but on the POAs [Plan of Action] that they produce. We take a developmental approach and they start the planning process from the initial induction and training they get. They then refine their plans and once finalised they make the plans public and use them to report on progress. We use the same for a round of evaluation meetings we have with them”.


Students who are directly affected by unkept promises can contact the SRC to find out when these promises will come to fruition or to express their views on the current situation. Students can also contact PDBY on instagram @pdbymedia or by email at editor@pdby.co.za and share their views in a letter to the editor.

Images: twitter @UP_SRC


Social Science student with the dream of one day becoming the head of an international humanitarian organisation. Writes mostly about politics, student governance and health. Kept afloat by Philippians 4:13

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