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Campus voter drive yields unsatisfactory results

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The Electoral Commission (IEC) in the Free State receives a disappointing turn out in the number of registered youth in 28 tertiary institutions ahead of voting season.

The special campaign was held from 18 to 20 Feb­ruary, the drive was aimed at encouraging the youth to register to vote during the 2019 provincial and national election on 8 May.

Mmathabo Rasengane, the IEC’s provincial spokesperson, said the commission managed to register a mere 1 817 youths.

She said the number didn’t match their expectations, considering the extra effort the commission took to encourage youths as future leaders to register in numbers for the upcoming elections.

“At some campuses, students showed no interest to register to vote during the elections.

“Classes were suspended due to protest action by students,” said Rasengane.

She also mentioned the challenges they faced with industrial action by workers affiliated with the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu).

 Strikes also played a part, leading to the disappointing turn out, this hindered the process at least four campuses.

These campuses are that of the Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State; the Maluti Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) College in the Eastern Free State and the Motheo TVET College in Zastron and Bloemfontein.

She said youth showed little interest in registering, which indicates youth voter apathy does exists.

Rasengane added that this was despite the industrial action by workers at the four campuses.

She said political parties were visible to observe the registration process.

Rasengane said the view held is that a significant number of youth had already registered before the campus initiative.

The 2019 elections will be the sixth in the era of democracy.

Source: News24

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Universities

Wits looking to make R1bn from land sale in a bid to help ‘poor students’

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The Citizen reported that Wits University is looking to make R1 billion from selling the controversial Frankenwald Estate near the Marlboro Gautrain station. The site was given to the institution – through a deed of gift – by British mining magnate Sir Alfred Beit in 1905 to be used for “education in perpetuity”.

In a 2017 report to the university’s council, vice-chancellor Adam Habib said the institution was exploring the possibility of an outright purchase of Frankenwald Estate by the City of Joburg.

Habib said: “We have also received a request from the executive mayor to explore the possibility of an outright purchase of Frankenwald by the municipality. We have had subsequent, similar conversations with the Gauteng MEC for cooperative governance and traditional affairs and human settlements.

“I have made it clear in my discussions with the government that we are looking at a R1 billion purchase price to establish an endowment to enable access for poor students.”

Jim Powell, a concerned resident opposing the sale and commercial development of Frankenwald Estate, said the university was not honouring the legacy of the “Alfred Beit Deed of Gift” and instead was trying to make a quick buck.

“Professor [Guerino] Bozzoli [former Wits vice-chancellor] stated in the 1920s when Wits was pressed for cash, the council very unwisely sold off about 1 200 acres [486 hectares] to the neighbouring dynamite company,” said Powell.

“Similarly, Wits has also sold the portion to the east of the N3 to the Johannesburg Pension Fund. It is now Linbro Park Industrial.

“Both of these sales were contrary to the deed of gift conditions…” he added.

“Now the intention is to sell the land and take the money again.”

Powell said there was no dispute as to Beit’s wishes for education on Frankenwald.

“The chancellor, councilors and vice-chancellor should consider the assessment by future benefactors to Wits when the Alfred Beit gift is treated in this way.”

Powell said the nearby Alexandra township was in great need of education and skills training of all types and that the development of education on the Frankenwald Estate would go a long way in meeting that need.

Speaking to The Citizen, Wits University’s head of communications, Shirona Patel, said the institution had engaged extensively with Powell on this matter.

“The university will engage with Mr. Powell through the appropriate forum and not through the media.”

SOURCE– CITIZEN.co.za

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Minister Pandor orders probe into VUT’s missing R30m

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Minister Naledi Pandor is set to go after those responsible for siphoning millions of rand through an alleged corruption and maladministration scandal which has plagued the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) for several years.

Pandor, who is the Higher Education and Training, wrote an explosive letter, which The Star has seen, to VUT council chairperson Tebogo Hlapolosa, saying she had appointed renowned Professor Barney Pityana as an independent assessor to probe, among other things, financial procurement and tender irregularities at the institution.

The Star reported in September last year that VUT management had diverted more than R30-million away from fixing a badly burnt 120-bed student residence without government-mandated approval.

This, according to senior staff, was to perform “cosmetic projects” such as painting walls at internal residences, instead of addressing “much-needed student accommodation”, in what the sources added was a deviation intended to loot VUT coffers.

On Wednesday, Higher Education spokesperson Lunga Ngqengelele confirmed the authenticity of the minister’s communiqué to VUT, adding that Pityana’s role would commence once the decision was gazetted.

“In terms of (the Higher Education and Training Act) section 47(1), the report must contain findings of the investigation together with the reasons upon which the findings are based and recommendations of appropriate measures and reasons why such measures are needed,” Pandor wrote.

-SOURCE-IOL

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Fulbright Specialist tours South Africa to recruit aspiring journalists

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United States Embassy Fulbright Specialist Prof Peter Glendinning is touring South Africa to recruit aspiring journalists into capturing the country’s important moments and history 

Glendinning, also a professor of Arts, Arts History and Design at Michigan State University in the USA, offered Media Studies students at the University of Limpopo (UL) an opportunity to collaborate with him on a project titled “Attached to the soil”. The project seeks to capture special portraits and record of oral history related to the 25th anniversary of democracy based on Nelson Mandela’s inauguration speech. He says UL is one of the South African universities that are highly recognised for excellence in education and broader successful alumni. 

Presenting a lecture on ‘Better Photograph by Design’, Glendinning told the students that he intends to create awareness on the truth, meanings, expectations, baggage, rules and design in photography.

While presenting on ‘Better Photography’, he addressed foundational principles of image organisation through concepts of design. He also highlighted principles of understanding photography as a creative medium of communication “in an age where everyone with a cellphone is a photographer.”

Head of Department of Media, Communications and Information Studies at UL, Dr. Solomon Bopape says Glendinning has played a significant role in the planning of an envisioned photography module in the university’s media studies programme.  “Photos are an essential part of communication and work more perfectly in media studies. In the future, we will send our students to benchmark on good photography and its concepts at Michigan State University. We will also have a look at their course outline to further develop our programme,” Bopape informs. 

-Source- University of Limpopo News

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