According to Student Affairs, this is because Stuku, TuksRag and the SSC mobilise student participation in various ways, while service providers offer students a specific service. They added that these committees will only play an organisational role, while service providers render a service beyond an organisational role. How that clarifies anything is anyone’s guess.
Stuku, TuksRag and the SSC are now seen as subcommittees of the SRC and Beni Letebele, a facilitator of the constitution, and Jordan Griffiths from the TSC told Perdeby last week that the new constitution now governs their activities better.
This shouldn’t be a problem, but when examining the clauses related to service providers (sections 42, 43 and 44) and committees (section 40), we couldn’t help noticing the similarities between them.
The committees are accountable to the SRC, so are the service providers; committees must “Cooperate closely with the SRC, as far as possible implement SRC decisions in relation to service delivery and must be responsive to the views expressed by the SRC.” Service providers must “Cooperate closely with the SRC, as far as possible implement SRC decisions in relation to service delivery and should be responsive to the views expressed by the SRC.” These are only two examples where the clauses are almost identical.
Aside from the blatant problem of media freedom and media independence from any specific governing structure, this constitution is filled with contradictions. How can the section 14 clause in this constitution state that freedom of expression includes the freedom of the student media, when several sections later Perdeby must be accountable to the SRC and implement their decisions? I see a New Age problem heading our way.
The other issue regarding this constitution involves the actual composition of the SRC and the Student Leadership Forum (SLF). Members of the SRC subcommittees (like Rag and Stuku) will automatically have their chairperson elected to the SRC in an ex officio portfolio. Added to that, the SLF will be made up of two members from each of these subcommittees. So the very forum that is set in place to keep the SRC accountable to students is made up of people who sit on the same committees as the SRC members. How is an SRC supposed to answer to a forum that is made up of people from their own committees?
Perdeby has also been listed on this SLF, but we have submitted suggested amendment s to have us removed from the forum. How else can we report objectively about the SRC or the forum if we are part of it? See, conflict of interest.
I understand the thought behind this constitution, and that Steerco tried to include as many people as they could on the SRC and SLF so that all student structures and the entire student body would be represented, but they haven’t given themselves enough time to meditate on their draft, nor have they given themselves enough time for the revision process.
It is up to students to read the draft and suggest necessary amendments. The closing date for written submissions was 27 May, and I feel like this editorial was published one week too late. But if students apply enough pressure, Student Affairs will have to take extra submissions into account. Student Affairs are aiming to have this constitution approved by June, but they shouldn’t rush the process. We need a constitution that is going to be clear and effective. I’m not sure if that is the one being proposed at the moment.
Good luck for exams,