The two-day sitting of the first UJ SRC parliament of 2018 during the weekend at APK witnessed student leaders singing liberation songs, while jovially dancing and going head-to-head with the matters tabled by the SRC President and Treasurer General’s (TG) reports, which reviewed the progress of the current student representative body.
But there is little difference that this parliament has with its mother body.
“What happens in the main parliament: the howling and shouting – same thing,” said a member of the UJ student Parliament, Christina Magabe when commenting on about the general atmosphere of the House.
However, “the atmosphere was good; it was a soldier on atmosphere,” according to the Speaker of Parliament, Siyabonga Nhlabathi.
All the same, the parliament consisted of delegates from APK, APB, DFC and SWC, who were elected to represent each campus during the mass meetings held in the four campuses on the 12th April. These delegates commented on and questioned the accuracy of each reports presented by the President and TG.
Although the student parliamentarians acted in a similar manner as to their national seniors, loudly calling down the arguments of others and causing some level of communicational chaos, the House managed to deal with some crucial matters of the gathering. These matters culminated from the Presidential and TG’s report and which tabled the issues of the electoral process, gender, society and constitutional amendments in separate Commissions.
The deliberations of these Commissions will then be tentatively packaged for the University’s Council for final decision making. However, some of the outcomes from the Commissions were restricted from disclosure due to their sensitivity, apart from that of the Gender Commission.
The result of the Gender Commission emanated from critically presented sets of arguments from some arguing that females are being sidelined in leadership positions.
However, the vital aspects of the presentations postulated that students ought to choose their leaders wisely and that there should be fair representation in SRC leadership, inclusive of the Parliament, student political parties and the various constituencies.
With the SRC meeting the Institution’s Council four times each year, the President said during a telephonic interview that they are going to be having a meeting to discuss the issues deliberated in the House on 14th June 2018.
It was also a majority concern that some of the current SRC members were not present for the sitting of which the President vowed to take the necessary disciplinary actions towards such members, but a follow-up mechanism is also imperative to allow such course of action to be brought to book.
“We are going to make sure we discipline those members,” said Cliffort Phetla, the President of the Central SRC.
Apart from the absentia of some SRC members, Treasurer General, Takani Mutsharini, went on to present the financial report.
“Viva the Progressive Alliance (PYA), Viva!” he said before commencing with the delivering of his speech.
Particularly, he proceeded to project the Central SRC Financial Report with the logos of the PYA allies. By so doing, he defied Section 1.6 of the Institution’s SRC Constitution: “The colours and symbols of the UJSRC shall be the same as those of the University of Johannesburg.”
Critics of his report had more to say as some wanted him to reveal the transactions of the financial year, arguing that the financial report is not transparent because it was drafted without detailed transactions. His response was that the presence of the media personnel hindered the disclosure of such.
Nevertheless, it was requested that the TG should provide a conclusive and substantial report to show the members within a week.
Following the Treasurer generals report, a questions panel critically examined the report. As such, some members were in confusion on the aspect of the 4th industrial revolution mentioned by the TG.
All the same, the President was passionate about this gathering as he went about to clearly explain and elaborate on the confusions surfacing in the House, including that of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
He said that the difference of the 4th Industrial Revolution from the others is that, its focus on the use of artificial intelligence such as robotics functions.
As such, the digital age of the 3rd industrial revolution ought to be fully utilized through providing students with laptops for us to fully engage in the 4th industrial revolution.
Above all, the two-day House sitting was proposed by the University’s management as an emergency gathering to facilitate the discussions around a constitutional review and amendment proposal from the student leaders of each campus.
(Contact Gaby Ndongo: firstname.lastname@example.org; +27 72 524 5063)
Related Story: Vigorous Debate on Gender at the UJ Parliamentary Gathering.