Category Archives: Politics

UZ Chancellor AU donation could have paid fees for 2000 students

Press Release|Zinasu Information Department| University of Zimbabwe

President Mugabe’s 1 million dollar donation to the African Union which sent tongues wagging this week could have paid school fees for at least 2 000 students, the Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) has claimed.

This comes after medicine students recently held protests over their inability to pay high fees at the University of Zimbabwe(UZ), leading to the arrest and detention of several student leaders, among them Zinasu spokesperson Zivai Mhetu and UZ Students’ Union treasurer  general Ignatious Mukwichi and secretary for sports Kudakwashe Guta.

President Mugabe, who also doubles as the UZ Chancellor, could have used the 1 million to pay fees for 2 000 struggling students at the biggest university in the country if he really had their plight at heart, Zinasu spokeperson, Mr Zivai Mhetu, said.

Not more than a week ago students were up in arms at UZ because they are unable to pay the increasingly unaffordable tuition fees only to hear that their Chancellor is giving away 1 million dollars to the AU as if he has dealt with all the problems affecting people in his own country.

“Donations should be made by the Bill Gates of this world who have more money than they can spend not Heads of States of impoverished countries whose citizens are wallowing in abject poverty and absolute misery said Mhetu”

Fees for general programmes at UZ were around five hundred dollars meaning that had he chosen to, Mugabe could have paid fees for at least 2 000 students at the institution, many of whom are being forced to defer their studies or drop out completely because of their inability to pay fees.

Countless students are being forced to drop out of school, not at the UZ alone but countrywide. It is against this background that we have been clamouring for grants and loans. But instead of giving us grants and loans the Head of our government and all State Universities is busy dishing out money to international organizations as if he is a one-man donor agency competing with the US-Aid.” said Mhetu.

Students at the tertiary level in Zimbabwe have been dropping out of school en masse due to economic hardships with Zinasu claiming that 12 000 students dropped out of school countrywide in the first quarter of 2016 alone.

21st February Movement Inspires Nust Students: Video

by Costa Nkomo | Nust-ZW | @costahcostah

MORE than 250 National University of Science and Technology (NUST) students joined their Chancellor President Robert Mugabe in Matopo on the 25thof February 2017 to commemorate President Mugabe’s 93rd birthday.  It was the 31st 21st movement celebration held in Matebeleland South province for the first time in history.

Cover image credit: AP

Photo Essay:#FeesMustFallReloaded 2016

#Storified from #Instagram: This photo essay illustrates the struggle of the #Fees2016 protests in South Africa which has led to temporary closure of public universities over the past week.

 

Give us feedback. Is free education feasible in South Afica???

THE BIG STORY: National university shut down in South Africa

  • Key Questions: What’s happening to Zimbos studying there? Are they back home? Do they have to travel acrosss that country to crush at relative’s places?

 

Johannesburg, 19 September 2016 – The Wits S-R-C says it’s going to continue to fight for free education. It believes it’s possible in South Africa. Video: eNCA
Johannesburg, 19 September 2016 – The former CEO of the Council On Higher Education says government is passing the buck.
JOHANNESBURG – Students on several campuses around the country have begun their intentions to stage a shut down at the designated campuses.

This follows Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande’s announcement on Monday that universities and colleges should increase fees by no more than 8% in 2017.
University of Witwatersrand (Wits)

Students at Wits university have vowed to shut down the university.

The university, however said the academic programme and all university activities continue as planned as extra security has been deployed on the campus.

REACTION: Fees announcement a ‘quick-fix’ not a solution: expert

Wits said security has been strengthened and police were on stand-by.

https://embed.iono.fm/epi/333165

 

University of Cape Town (UCT)

Meanwhile, UCT students gathered for a mass meeting following Nizmande’s announcement.

UCT suspended classes, lectures and tests on Monday.

Univerity of Pretoria (UP)

University of Pretoria students were also preparing for a shutdown, with reports of lectures being disrupted.

https://embed.iono.fm/epi/333149
University of Free State (UFS)

University of Free State students disrupted classes, following government’s 2017 fee hike recommendations.

The students and the Student Representative Council made the announcement that there will be no classes at least for the rest of the week.

eNCA

https://www.enca.com/south-africa/universities-shut-down-on-the-cards-0 (19 September 2016)

HIGH COURT BLOCKS STUDENT LEADER SUSPENSION

A High Court judge has ordered the reinstatement of a Midlands State University (MSU) student who had been suspended by the tertiary institution for allegedly branding an MDC-T placard on campus.
MSU authorities recently suspended Archbold Elias Madida for allegedly holding a placard inscribed “MSU Students support MDC-T” on campus.
This followed an anti-government protest staged recently in Gweru by Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party.
The MSU authorities had claimed that Madida’s conduct was “harmful to the interests of the university”.
However, Madida, with assistance from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) member Takashinga Pamacheche of Gundu and Dube Legal Practitioners filed an urgent chamber application in the Bulawayo High Court.
He was challenging his suspension which he argued amounted to victimisation and sought an order to have it set aside.
On Tuesday, High Court Judge Francis Bere ordered MSU and Professor Ngwabi Bhebhe, who were cited as respondents respectively, to allow Madida to pursue his studies at the university.
“The applicant (Madida) be and is hereby allowed to be on the university’s premises, attend lectures, participate in university programmes and have access to all university facilities,” reads part of the order granted Tuesday by Bere.
Bere also ordered that Madida’s suspension pending a disciplinary hearing against him be permanently lifted.
Prior to being suspended, MSU security personnel had on Tuesday 16 August 2016 escorted Madida from MSU’s Zvishavane campus to the university’s Gweru main campus, where the authorities had scheduled to convene a disciplinary hearing for him.
However, Madida’s lawyer was later advised that no hearing was to take place but that just an enquiry was to be held which was conducted in the office of the Chief Security Officer only identified as Chademana.
Madida denied all the allegations leveled against him and insisted that the authorities proceed in whatever manner they deemed fit.
Madida’s lawyer also resisted attempts by Chademana to have the legal practitioner leave the university premises without her client which Pamacheche refused to do and insisted that the security personnel ensures that the MSU student travels back to Zvishavane campus as they were the ones who had escorted him to Gweru.
In the end, the MSU security personnel capitulated and made some arrangements to facilitate Madida’s return to Zvishavane campus.
Students at state-run universities and other tertiary institutions, most of them derelict after years of under-funding and mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe’s administration, have been participating in countrywide anti-government protests organised by pro-democracy activists, which are becoming routine as the country’s political and economic crisis worsens.-channelzim

RSA IS NOT BURNING: IN DEFENSE OF THE COUNTRY’S NATIONAL AGENDA

by Buyile Sangolekhaya Matiwane | Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)

Observers of the current affairs discourse in this country could be forgiven for thinking that South Africa is totally bereft of hope and that the state is on the brink of collapse.
The dominant views emerging out of this one sided discourse are those of doomsayers who use the country’s genuine growth and development challenges as a tool to support their imaginary theories of a failing state, led by a government that is incapable of addressing the needs of ordinary citizens. To this end, unemployment, crime, service delivery protests, government’s response to the drought, the performance of the Rand and slowing economic growth rate are paraded as examples of how the ANC led government is, in the words of one commentator, “fiddling while Rome burns.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. In a forthright and frank assessment of our economic challenges during a period of slowing global volatility, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan noted that a decline in demand for our commodities and their prices has created a toxic mix of reduced export earnings, declining investment, job losses and in some cases business failures.
It is for these and other reasons that Minister Gordhan delivered one of the most balanced budgets that advocates for a period of fiscal consolidation marked by a reduction in the budget deficit, freezing non-essential managerial and administrative posts and introducing specific new taxes to augment national revenue.
To respond to slowing global demand for commodities, which is leading to job cuts, especially in the mining and associated industries, government has identified and is investing in key sectors of the economy that have the potential to create thousands of new, sustainable jobs. The National Growth Path (NGP) calls for targeted investment in infrastructure development, the agricultural value chain, the mining value chain, the green economy, the manufacturing sector and tourism.
To respond to the challenge posed by the NGP, government has kick-started a comprehensive infrastructure development programme that is turning South Africa into a massive construction site. New roads, railway lines, power stations, dams, bridges, pipelines, schools, hospitals and clinics are either in the planning stages, construction phase or have just been completed. The country is spending R1 billion a day on a massive infrastructure development programme that has so far created over 200 000 jobs.
On a daily basis, the socio economic conditions of our people are improving for the better. When completed; Medupi, Ingula and Kusile power stations will add over 1600 Megawatts onto the national grid. Six months ago President Jacob Zuma opened Medupi Unit 6 which has added 800 Megawatts onto the grid. The results are there for all to see. When was the last time South Africa experienced large scale load shedding?
South Africa is investing in its people and putting them to work. In terms of government’s commitment to industrialisation; buses, trucks and rail locomotives are being manufactured and refurbished here at home, in targeted economic zones such as Rosslyn in Tshwane and factories in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The Industrial Development Corporation has set aside billions of Rands to invest in new manufacturing ventures, the green economy, grow the pool of entrepreneurs and to create new black industrialists.
Other large scale infrastructure initiatives include widening the Durban Harbour and increasing its container terminal capacity, expanding capacity at the Port of Ngqura, completing the De Hoop and Clanwilliam dams and extending the Bus Rapid Transit system that has proved successful in Tshwane, Joburg and Cape Town to other metros such Ekurhuleni which is about to pilot the first phase of its BRT system.
Our State Owned Companies (SOCs) are crucial in driving this infrastructure development through targeted spending on developmental projects with the propensity to create thousands of jobs and ensure that infrastructure can meet demand once the global economic outlook improves. This is the mark of a government that works, that is creating new industries and maximising opportunities for investment, employment and growth.
But boasting about investing in infrastructure is futile if this investment does not result in visible improvements in the lives of ordinary South Africans. When a municipality, working closely with Eskom, extends transmission to an area that had no electricity and Gogo Dube switches on the lights in her home for the first time in her life that is when we are working. When a single mother of four receives the keys to her brand new home after years on the waiting list and smiles because she has always dreamt of cooking in her own kitchen that is when we are making a difference.
When a young entrepreneur receives funding for an idea that could change the world for the better and create jobs for locals, we know that our efforts at improving the lives of our people are bearing fruit.
President Jacob Zuma has put infrastructure development at the top of his agenda and is personally overseeing coordination of all the major infrastructure development programmes along with members of his executive. As the President has aptly put it: “Infrastructure development is critical for both industrialisation and to boost employment in construction and other sectors, especially during such a difficult time.”
The doomsayers are wrong. Unlike ancient Rome, South Africa is not burning. It is a thriving democracy that turns 21 next month, blossoming into a fully matured adult along with the complications that come with such changes. This ANC led government has developed sound policies and put in place concrete programmes that will douse any fire before it becomes an inferno.
Yes, we have challenges. The crime rate is still unacceptably high, levels of poverty and inequality must be reduced, and economic benefits are still skewed in favour of a tiny minority. But despite what the critics may believe, this country is on the correct path towards a trajectory of shared growth, development and poverty alleviation. Let us all put shoulder to the wheel.

OF STUDENTS PROTESTS: ZIMBABWE vs SOUTH AFRICA

by Senamiso Moyo | University of the Witwatersrand

As a Zimbabwean student studying in South Africa, the recent student protests that swept through the country were a strange occurrence. It was amazing to witness students gather in large numbers to fight against unrealistic tuition fee increases imposed by the universities.
The general feeling amongst most Zimbabwean students, as we watched our South African colleagues shut down universities, public roads and march to the Union Buildings (where the executive arm of government sits), was mostly fascinating and intriguing. Most of us grew up in post 1980 Zimbabwe and had never witnessed such a huge protest before. Where singing, dancing and generally disruptive behaviour on the streets was used by people to get the attention of the bigger heads and have their demands. Throughout most of the demonstrations we kept asking ourselves, “Where are the riot police? Or why don’t they just accept the increases? After all its life”
Not to say we don’t have protests and demonstrations in Zimbabwe, but they are usually dealt with so much more differently, especially if it concerns what the State considers trivial matters. Any gathering that seeks to disrupt the peace or the functioning of Civil Society is usually nullified before it becomes a matter to write home and report about.
However, throughout these protests we were exposed to the good and the bad of protest action and to some extent, we gained an understanding of why the Zimbabwean government deals with disruptions like this so swiftly. At first students were united in one movement which led to President Jacob Zuma announcing that there will be no fee increases for the year 2016. However, there was now a lot of external political interference riding on the wave of what was for a good cause. Various political institutions then used the student movement to pressurize the ANC government to provide free education and an end to non-standard labour practices within tertiary institution. The reasonableness of the demands was now seemingly lost and the majority of the students wanted to resume classes with final exams fast approaching.
What subsequently transpired was a huge conflict between the student bodies. There were the more politically inclined students who wanted to continue with the protests and the shutdown of campuses. Funded by rival political parties, they staged one of the longest on-campus occupations in history, defending their stance by any means, which included threats of violence. Then there were the majority of the students who accepted that 0% increase was reasonable and wanted to continue with exams, campus had of course been shut down for two weeks.
As part of the majority I began to understand why the Zimbabwean government dealt with disruptive action so swiftly. When the demands from protestors became unreasonable, everyone looked to the The South African Police Service (SAPS) to act. The University did everything within the ambit of the law to deter protestors. However, in respecting the right to freedom of protest afforded by the South African constitution, the SAPS just watched on and basically did nothing. Exams were postponed and this put a lot of students in danger of not graduating and foreign students whose permits were to expire soon in danger of having to leave the country without writing examinations. This is the great disadvantage with the right to protest, it affords the protesting party too much power, it seizes being negotiation and becomes a demand with no room for bargaining. This is only acceptable in so far as the protesting party does not abuse this right as the protestors did in this case.
The plight of poor students and exploited workers is one that I sympathise with deeply. However, any right that is afforded in any constitution, may be limited if it infringes on the rights and interests of another person. Zimbabwe and South Africa are two extremes, and there is still a long way to go in establishing a balance in this regard.

UCT Students’ Protest Turns Ugly!

By Zodidi Dano

University of Cape Town students frustrated with the housing crisis and other challenges, set paintings and a plaque from the Smuts Hall residence alight at the foot of Jameson stairs yesterday.

Earlier, students raided the dining hall at Fuller residence, and stripped the hall of its decor and paintings. The paintings were piled high and set alight, as students danced and chanted.

Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Andrè Traut said police had been deployed to monitor the situation, but no arrests have been made. Police were still on the scene late last night.

UCT Prot1.jpg

UCT spokeswoman Gerda Kruger said: “The behaviour by RMF members is |criminal and has exceeded all possible limits of lawful protest action. We are deeply concerned for the safety of students and staff. We call on students to refrain from supporting RMF in these actions and to vacate the area.”

Earlier in the day, the university’s management had threatened to dismantle the Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) movement shack erected on Residence Road, Upper Campus. The one-roomed corrugated iron|structure, RMF said, was a representation of township life.

A portable toilet stall and two braai stands had been erected alongside the shack which had been cordoned off with chevron tape.

Inside the shack were a mattress, a table and a two-plate stove. The outside of the shack had been painted green, with the words “UCT housing crisis” scrawled across the back.

In a letter from the university’s management, it said the shack was interrupting traffic and pedestrian flow.

The letter asked the students to move the shack off Residence Road, to a grassy patch in front of Smuts Hall.
The letter read: “If you refuse to allow the officers to move the shack and the shack is still in its current position by 5pm we will unfortunately have no option but to take action to remove it.”

By the 5pm deadline, there was no sign of security or university officials present to dismantle the structure.

The students had barricaded a section of the road with tyres and wheelie bins and were singing and dancing around a small fire of dustbins and trash in the parking lot near the shack.

University spokesman Elijah Moholola said: “The reason the management has asked RMF to move the shack is that it has caused interference with traffic
flow, even to the point of causing a backlog on the M3 today.
“It interferes with the freedom of movement of other staff and students, and due to bins being set alight it causes safety risks.”

UCT Prot2.jpg

It was only at 6pm that the students gathered at the Jameson steps to hold a plenary which came to the decision of invading Fuller Hall’s dining room to find food.

The students entered the hall from the kitchen after kicking the door down.
They then helped themselves to food.

“We, the underprivileged students who have been protesting all day, are hungry,” said Zola Shokane of the RMF movement.

Shokane said members of the RMF were protesting against the housing crisis, financial exclusion and the management’s lack of commitment to promises made last year.
“We are homeless, there is no accommodation for us here. What else can we do.”
The hashtags ‪#‎HomelessAtUCT‬ and ‪#‎Shackville‬ were used to gain traction on social media.
UCT has 6 680 beds for 27 000 students.
“Some 75 percent of students live outside of the residence system,” Moholola said.

The university has asked homeowners with space in Cape Town to assist the university in providing residence for those with no accommodation.

Another student, Paleo Mokoena, also a member of RMF, said the shack would remain on Residence Road until vice-chancellor Max Price committed to meeting with them.

Mokoena said the letter was hand delivered to the group by the deputy vice chancellor.
“There is no signature, no letterhead and we saw they had about 20 copies of it handing it out to students.

“That is no form of communication – we scrunched those papers and threw them in the bin.”

RMF has created a book to record the number of students without accommodation.
By 5pm, at least 50 students had listed their names.

Mokoena said: “We are here to meet with management on our terms. Max Price must commit to a meeting with us.”

However, Kruger said: “We also delivered to Rhodes Must Fall a letter asking them to vacate Avenue Hall by 12pm on Friday this week.

“We have made repeated attempts to engage RMF on the matter of Avenue Hall and even to discuss the issue of alternative space but they have dismissed any attempt at engagement.
“They refuse to speak with the executive but consistently verbally abuse and threaten.

WATCH: http://tiny.cc/UCTProtests

 Pictures: David Ritchie
(Source: Cape Argus or get the app at www.myindependent.co.za)

Just like the economy, Zim’s education is headed for the drain

Sineke Sibanda

A statement from the University of Zimbabwe Students Representative Council caused my heart to sink for a while and to think that Zimbabwe was once known for the best brains in Africa, it would hurt to now think that it could all turn out to be a façade. It was ludicrously unbelievable that the breadbasket of Africa could turn out to be a bread-beggar as evidenced with recent news on shortages of various basic commodities such as maize among others. Sure, just like how the economy which was on the same performing level with that of China and Thailand in terms of GDP per capita in 1985 and now is missing in the global rankings, Zimbabwe’s education may take that route too, its standard recognition is close to being extinct.

A decade ago, industries were complaining that most universities were churning out students who lacked industrial backbone and suffered from knowledge deficiency. Come to think of it, by then, government was still subsidizing these tertiary institutions. Now that the government has put a full stop to that, I guess the country is yet to see the worst; a depreciation in education delivery, depreciation in student performance, depreciation in students’ lifestyles and a depreciation of the country, all because of the money, education has been moved from the centre, and money has taken the place. The institutions do need money, yes! But should it not be proportional to the service rendered?

Depreciation in education delivery will be inevitable at the once sunshine school of the country as the institution seeks to increase the number of students by means of instituting two intakes every year without instituting any adjustment to the staff and facilities at the college. One can only imagine that if a lecturer was attending to 40 students in one class in each stream, he or she had about 120-160 students every year. With the second intake, it means we multiply 120 by two, which gives us 240. Suffice not comment on the numbers, you can surely see the ridiculous mockery and insult to the education system. Is it just about the degree or it is also about the genuine quality of the degree? With time, Zimbabwe’s once recognized degrees in most developed countries will begin to be bogus and mere papers certifying students’ incompetence.

Another issue is the issue of students’ residential area. As we speak, the university of Zimbabwe cannot cater for all students’ accommodation. So where is the new crop of students joining in going to stay? Ordinarily, the general populace in Zimbabwe is broke and lives under $0.30 a day; there will obviously be need for new houses to be built, who will build them? The rich politicians? This reminds me of a concept mastered by a former students leader, Takura Zhangazha, ‘Disaster Capitalism’, a situation where you create a disaster and then you profit/benefit from it. This disaster being created here, from a distance looks so thoughtful, reasonable and absolute but in essence, someone has created an opportunity to loot from the already broke parents sending their children to school.

There has been a shift in dimensions in the policy of privatizing education, starting with the creation of many informal colleges, gradual increase in intakes every year, introduction of multi-campussing and that of annual double intakes pioneered by the Midlands State University. The goalposts have been disoriented and this has justified a nature of not exercising our intelligence in constructing counter proactive strategies other than all these reactionary strategies we are now implementing and are hurting every Zimbabwean. So you mean no one in the aging government foresaw the dwindling of funds and then advised on instigating a counter plan or a fundraising strategy to salvage any shortfalls? You mean all the other universities across the world are dependent on their governments to fund them? What other fundraising projects could be run to make colleges self-sustaining? Just last year, the UZ churned out 3 451 graduates, and you mean none of them had a research that could be pursued and later pay back or generate income for the university. If not, then what function are the colleges serving if they are not academically solving contemporary problems.

For how long has been the UZ since inception churning out students, how many researches have paid back in that big pool of graduates? This is so ridiculous, a lot of people have not been doing their jobs in these varsities other than slouching in their big chairs thinking of the next gimmick to generate and steal from students. What have the universities been investing in? One of the reasons why this country has taken a downward turn is because of the degrees awarded to selfish administrators with little or no brains at all.

This whole drama can be summed up in the words of one particular UZ professor who said the problem with Zimbabwe is that people want economic indigenisation without economic empowerment. There is lack of foresight, sustainable strategies and the ability to think beyond the obvious. The government can continue cutting all they want on staff, increasing the number of intakes and or of students, but this is all cosmetic and reactionary. There is need for winning strategies and genuine people doing their job, otherwise the country is headed for the doldrums; a point of no return…

ZINASU resists 2 UZ intakes per year

BY OBEY MANAYITI

THE Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) yesterday expressed displeasure at the University of Zimbabwe’s (UZ)decision to introduce two intakes per year, saying this will only pile pressure on scarce facilities at the State university.

Although the demonstration, organised by Zinasu at the UZ campus, flopped yesterday, reportedly due to heavy police presence, the student representative body said they would continue pushing to have the decision rescinded.

“We are defending the quality of education and reputation of our institution. As students, we can’t allow a situation where we will be at the receiving end,” Zinasu spokesperson, Zivai Mhetu said.

“We say no to the introduction of two intakes unless the university does infrastructure development first on key areas such as lecture rooms, hostels and the library.

“Any hurried decision will leave students in a sorry state, where they will be pushed to exchange accommodation for sex with gardeners and maids and other inhumane living conditions that will affect learning.”

But in an interview with NewsDay on Friday, UZ director of information, Daniel Chihombori dismissed claims that the introduction of two intakes was a move by the university to raise funds and fight competition from other universities like Midlands State University.

Chihombori defended the move, saying it was made to reduce the waiting period for university aspirants, as well as giving an opportunity to deserving candidates.

Asked if the university, which has about 4 000 carrying capacity in hostels, will be able to house the students, Chihombori said they would need support from the local communities to arrest the accommodation crisis.

Already surrounding neighbourhoods in Avondale, Mt Pleasant, Pomona and Vainona among others are making a killing renting out accommodation to students and might get more if demand increases.

However, Zinasu said it would continue mobilising it members until the university rectifies the matter.

“The heavy presence of police will not deter us as students and we will continue demonstrating until our plight is heard,” Mhetu said.

Source: Newsday

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