News & Events

KZN student leadership inaugurated

It was the beginning of a new era when the regional Students’ Representative Council (SRC) of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Region of Unisa was elected, following the postponement of the elections last year. The new leadership cadre was inaugurated at the Simiso Nkwanyana Building on 9 March 2021.

Front: Sibabalwe Notyhawe, Deputy Speaker, Lungile Mgazi, Chairperson, Noluthando Mdluli, Speaker, and Ntombizekhethelo Hlengwa, Regional Postgraduate Officer Middle: Dr Olwethu Sipuka, Unisa Dean of Students Back: Emmanuel Shangase, Education and Training Officer, Thobeka Ntombela, Treasurer, Aphiwe Dlamini, Sport and Cultural Officer, Lihle Majambe, Regional Undergraduate Officer, Lungisani Memela, Secretary, Essa Xolo, Deputy Secretary, and Thabani Dube, Deputy Chair

Unisa’s Dean of Students, Dr Olwethu Sipuka, and the Chairperson of Unisa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Dr Benni Lekubu, announced the official results of the National SRC elections on 24 February 2021. Thereafter, the Department of Student Development, in collaboration with the IEC, started the process of inaugurating the SRCs in all Unisa regions.

The SRC inauguration in the KZN Region was delayed due to a leadership conflict among students. A group of students tried to force their way into the venue and were confronted by Unisa security staff. The IEC Committee, staff members of the Department of Student Development and security officials managed the situation very well and gave student leaders enough time to liaise with their national structures and to consult with each other on issues that needed to be resolved before they could start with the process of nominating candidates for the SRC.

Of the organisations that participated in the SRC election of the KZN Region, the South African Students Congress (SASCO) secured four seats, followed by the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC) with three seats and the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) with two seats. The Unisa Law Students Association (ULSA), the South African Democratic Students Movement (SADESMO) and Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) did not get any seats.

Thobeka Ntombela, outgoing KZN SRC Chairperson, delivered a message of support for the incoming regional SRC. She said: “We meet today at this event as student structures to deploy members of the SRC, on the basis of seats acquired during the election. It is at such a time that we need to be reminded that students remain the primary stakeholders of this institution.”

Ntombela emphasised that it is the duty of student leaders to prioritise students’ interests at all times. “Colleagues, my message of support confirms our support as outgoing SRC to the incoming leadership. I wish to make this appeal: deploy leaders who will not compromise the interest of students for their own narrow and selfish interest, with intentions known by no one but themselves. The challenges our fellow students continue to face are known by us. It is important to ensure that we prioritise the deployment of capable leaders who will understand the arrogant system of the university that seeks to victimise the student populace at large,” she said.

She then sent a strong message to those who will be deployed in the SRC that the tendency of using the SRC as a platform for employment at Unisa needs to end. “Use this platform to serve students’ interests. Be more conscious about students’ issues. The institution should stop taking decisions that oppress the children of the working class. The online exam and other decisions that have been taken by the institution need to be challenged. Student Development at some point need to understand that SRC members are not class reps. We are elected and entrusted to serve students. Student Development has a role to play collectively with the SRC in ensuring that they mitigate any unjust forms of system imposed on students. All this being said, let us continue to work together and elect a leadership that has students’ best interest at heart and that will serve with integrity,” she said.

Dr Lekubu officiated the SRC inauguration and dissolved the outgoing SRC to allow the new leadership to be elected. Eligible participants nominated their preferred candidates, and a secret ballot system was used.

Later, Dr Lekubu announced the elected members of the SRC, who are as follows: Lungile Mgazi, Chairperson, Thabani Dube, Deputy Chair, Lungisani Memela, Secretary, Essa Xolo, Deputy Secretary, Thobeka Ntombela, Treasurer, Emmanuel Shangase, Education and Training Officer, Aphiwe Dlamini, Sport and Cultural Officer, Ntombizekhethelo Hlengwa, Regional Postgraduate Officer, Lihle Majambe, Regional Undergraduate Officer,  Noluthando Mdluli, Speaker, and Sibabalwe Notyhawe, Deputy Speaker.

Dr Lekubu addressed the elected leadership, saying: “I hope that you will have an opportunity to familiarise yourselves with Unisa’s Charter on Transformation and, in particular, the 11Cs plus 1, which articulate the kind of culture that Unisa seeks to embed and practise at all times.”

Lungile Mgazi, KZN regional SRC Chairperson

The newly elected KZN SRC Chairperson, Lungile Mgazi, delivered a congratulatory address, saying: ‘‘After such a long time, for me, this is a historical moment for the best interest of our students. I have no doubt in my mind that this is the beginning of great things for our institution, in general, and for our region, in particular. I would like to take this opportunity to commend students, who are the main reason we converge here today, and not to forget our organisations, to thank the Dean of Students present today, the Department of Student Development, the IEC and all Unisans who made this inauguration a success.

“Indeed, the agenda that shall guide this collective must be student oriented. It has to be clear to us, the collective intact, that there can be no meaningful student-based service without a united student representative council driven by a student mandate apart from our political affiliations,” she said.

* By Mduduzi Ndunakazi, Communication and Marketing Officer, Unisa KwaZulu-Natal Region

Publish date: 2021-03-16 00:00:00.0