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VUYELWA MFEKA:  recent discussion about the current Gaza crisis revealed that the issue has generated much concern within the Rhodes University community. The discussion, hosted by the Rhodes University Palestinian Solidarity Forum, drew a large audience interested in finding ways in which South African citizens can show their support for the people of Gaza.

Shawan Jabarin, general director of the Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq, joined the discussion via Skype from Ramallah in the Palestinian West Bank. Jabarin spoke about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. He also stressed the need for South Africa, as a formerly segregated country, to support Palestine’s struggle for independence. “You have experienced the suffering,” he said in reference to South Africa’s apartheid past.

01 August 2014 – Critical Mass Cycle Awareness Ride – Old Pretoria Boys High Club

01 August 2014 – Brooklyn Design Fair – Brooklyn Design Square

02 August 2014 – Battle of the Bands and Night Market – Trademarx

02 August 2014 – SA Savanna Comic Choice Awards – Teatro, Monte casino

ROXANNE JOSEPH: Following the murders of four young women, three of them students, in and around the University of Venda campus, security is now under the personal watch of the vice chancellor (VC), and university management.

A delegation led by VC Prof Peter Mbati has recognised the urgent need for improved security to “mitigate against the assaults and murders experienced by” the university community.

LAMEEZ OMARJEE: International students can forget about applying for jobs in South Africa, unless they have an identity document (ID) or work permit. This was the general message at a careers fair, held earlier today at the Old Mutual Sports Hallat Wits.

The Counselling and Careers Developmental Unit’s (CCDU) graduate recruitment programme organised the fair for students from across all faculties but there was little on offer for students from outside South Africa.

MARKO SVICEVIC: The University of Pretoria has confirmed that the man who died this morning after an alleged suicide attempt is a 44-year old lecturer at the university. The man was confirmed dead on the scene by paramedics.

According to Tswhwane Emergency Services, the man had apparently jumped from the roof of the Humanities building (HSB) and had fallen on the roof of the sixth floor of the building. 

Earlier reports suggested that the man was a student but this has since been corrected.

LAURIE SCARBOROUGH: So firstly, welcome back to UCT, fine people who read this column. Good on you to brave the mountainous campus for another four months (and for reading my column every edition). If your holiday was anything like mine, it was far from restful. If you flip over to the Features section you’ll see that I was involved in a musical at the Artscape, and rehearsal were almost daily, stretching into the darkest hours of the night. Very exciting and everything – dreams come true, standing ovations, gold stars, etc etc. 

Besides the obvious stand-out moments of being on a stage that every performer lives for, I think one of things that will stick with me is the sheer amount of make-up that is smeared on your face in your pre-show preparation. 

LAMEEZ OMARJEE: A global student leadership organisation has recognised its Wits chapter through an award that also acknowledges the work of its members.

AIESEC Wits (an acronym in French for the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences) received the Rising Star Award during the June leadership summit (JLS) held at Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMU).

LUCA KOTTON: Witsies are going to have dig deeper into their pockets in 2015 with the proposed upfront payment fee increasing to  R10 270.00.

The fee, currently at  R9340.00, entails a R930.00 increase which is needed by Wits according to university registrar, Carol Crosley. “The universities costs at the beginning of the year are very high,” she said. Crosley added that the registration fee was needed largely due to the department of higher education only providing a portion of their funding at the beginning of April every year and the rest during the start of September.

KUDZAI MAZVARIRWOFA: Newly issued visa regulations from the South African Department of Home Affairs have led to frustration and anger among foreigners, including Witsies, living in the country.

The regulations, issued in June this year, states that any foreign person living in South Africa is not allowed to change the state of their permit here but must do so at the “mission abroad,” i.e. the South African embassy in that person’s home country.

DEAN HORWITZ: The SABC has been embroiled in controversy over the past several years and its latest controversy is threatening to bring the entire broadcaster to its knees if it does not get its house in order. The controversy centres on the permanent appointment of Chief Operating Officer Hlaudi Motsoeneng who, despite a Public Protectors recommendation to the contrary, was appointed without consideration earlier this year. 

The issue of Motsoeneng’s appointment is unfortunately much bigger than standard labour practices and while the majority of the citizens of South Africa would expect state companies like the SABC to go through correct procedures when hiring and firing, this is unfortunately not the case. It is important to make this distinction because I believe this controversy says nothing about labour practices in South Africa and everything about the current state of government. 

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