The empowerment of young, black entrepreneurs at UJ was insistently voiced during the recent UJ student parliament and Central SRC sitting held on the weekend of 14-15 April at APK campus.
This unequivocal call for radical transformation of the University’s economy proposed that young black entrepreneurs at the Institution be given a platform to operate their businesses, since they are economically disadvantaged.
“It is not a secret that in the University of Johannesburg most part of the student population are from poor backgrounds,” said Takalani Mutsharini, the Treasurer General of the Central SRC (CSRC).
In some of the questions from the delegates after the CSRC president’s report, it was raised by some of the members of parliament that students are being denied the opportunity to express their entrepreneurial skills.
“The institution are giving us courses in business, PR and marketing but we are not finding expression in those aspects. So, we want at least a 40-60% representation when it comes to tenders. It must be given to internal students who are owning companies,” said a member of parliament, Jacob Walaza.
Sentiments towards student empowerment were further echoed in the Treasurer General’s (TG) report. In this report, the TG, Takalani Mutsharini, presented several proposals such as, engaging student centre shops to provide jobs for students.
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What was also insistently noted, during the whole gathering, was the ownership trend of food shops at the University’s Student Centres. The argument was that some shops, if not most, are owned by whites.
As such, some members of the parliament suggested that space should be allocated for student owned shops to create an employment strategy for other students.
Nonetheless, the CSRC President echoed similar opinions on the issue of providing economic opportunities for students.
“That is something we are going to challenge as the SRC through the procurement policy. We are going to be clear on that one. We are still working on that one,” he said.
The President’s report, attacked by some members of parliament for lacking substance, articulated on some of the challenges faced and progress made by the CSRC has made thus far.
However, the report was labelled as mere gossip because some members felt that it failed to clearly provide light on some of the issues such as the Trust Fund scandals that occurred at the beginning of the 2018 academic year.
“Obviously people just want to comment, but the majority were happy,” the CSRC President, Cliffort Phetla, said.
Empowering young black students and their businesses brought the house together in unity as members of the parliament valued the presented proposals in massive cheers of support.
Nevertheless, with the parliamentary gathering airing out abstract proposals, progress is yet to be seen on the part of the CSRC to implement these programmes.
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(Kupakwashe Kambasha, Kayesco6@gmail.com)