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.
BRYAN SMITH: The evening of May 12th saw a buzzing crowd attend the launch of a week-long exhibition in Molly Blackburn Hall in Upper Campus, featuring select pieces from UCT Pictorial, a street-portrait initiative launched by keen photographer and Commerce student, Nicholas Fitzhenry. The event featured a welcoming speech by Fitzhenry, as well as interactive displays chronicling UCT’s history in news and archival photographs.
The portraits, and their accompanying captions, drew the attention and interest of a vibrant crowd who offered positive comments and personal connection to the individual stories presented.
STEPHEN HULME: Postgraduates, professors and members of the engineering industry were invited to the first Engineering and the Built Environment (EBE) Postgraduate Research Expo held in the New Engineering Building on Thursday, May 8th. The aims of the event were to recognise research work done by students, showcase this work to potential employers and industry players, and to facilitate interdepartmental interactions.
The evening began with postgraduates exhibiting posters and explaining research while students had the opportunity to listen and ask questions. An opening address followed and the Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor, Danie Visser, Director of Postgraduate Studies, Dr Nelleke Bak, and the EBE Faculty Deputy Dean, Professor Sue Harrison all gave speeches. There was a short awards ceremony after which refreshments were served, followed by a second poster-viewing.
CAI NEBE: Last week the United Nations Chapter of UCT (UNASA-UCT) held its 8th annual Blue Week. The event seeks to spark interest in international relations and United Nations protocols for dealing with conflict resolution.
UNASA-UCT chairperson, Lynn Lyoba, said the Blue Week served to bring students’ attention to UNASA-UCT, to get them involved and raise awareness about international and regional relations. This year’s theme was “African Renaissance”.
Claudia Emanuel: Right now, millions of helpless, voiceless animals are locked away in sterile laboratories, awaiting the next poke, probe and torturous experience. There is no way around it - experimenting and testing on animals is cruel.
Beauty Without Cruelty had the initial intention of being present on UCT’s medical campus but they were turned away at the last minute. The organisation has had a stand at UCT’s upper campus for two days in the last week. In correlation with World Week for Animals, 19-26 April 2014, the members have been raising awareness by handing out information on vivisection, offering humane practice guides and opening up discussions with interested students.
Dean Horwitz: In 2012 an online video entitled Kony 2012 went viral. Produced by Invisible Children Inc., the film aimed to promote the Stop Kony movement which focused on raising awareness about Joseph Kony, an African cult and militia leader.
The film went viral quite rapidly and to date has received over 99 million views and 1.3 million likes on YouTube. Time Magazine regarded the video as being the most viral video ever made and within a few months of its release a poll suggested that more than half of Americans knew about Joseph Kony.
Nkululeko Tsoketsi: On Friday, March 28th, Lower Campus residence, Leo Marquard Hall, hosted its very first monthly Imbizo, an open forum on black consciousness and on what it means to be a modern-day African. To tackle this topic the Imbizo Five, the organisers of the event, emailed excerpts from Steve Biko’s I Write What I Like to all attendees and brought together a diverse body of guest speakers, from one of the Deputy-Vice Chancellors to a Smuts House Committee member.
Tsepo Ngwenyama: On March 28th the community-based organization, Basic Education for All (BEFA), and the civil rights movement, Section27 - representing 18 schools in Limpopo - filed a founding Affidavit at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria against the Limpopo department of Education (LDoE) and the Department of Basic Education (DBE).
In findings by representatives of BEFA and Section27, 20 000 pupils and 39 schools in Limpopo are without learning material in the form of textbooks.
Laurie Scarborough: An online campaign targeting discrimination at UCT was launched onto social media sites Tumblr, Twitter, and Facebook on April 2nd by Jessica Breakey and Paballo Chauke. The campaign, called #itooamuct, was inspired by an initiative run at Harvard University called #itooamharvard and was also picked up by students attending the University of Oxford with #itooamoxford.
Dean Horwitz: Earlier this year Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela, released a report into a procurement deal concluded by the Independent Electoral Commission. The Pubic Protector was tasked to look into a lease deal entered into by the IEC. In her findings, Madonsela found that the deal contained numerous irregularities which would not stand up to litigation in court.
Following the report, the National Treasury commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to investigate further. The company concluded that the process was not fair, transparent or cost-effective and implicated IEC head, Pansy Tlakula, as the main culprit.