Following the student forum, many concerns were raised about the establishment of the SRC’s fundraising committee, which has been established contrary to the Constitution for Student Governance (CSG) which recognises
only three sub-committees. Furthermore, in minutes leaked to PDBY prior to their official release, dated 2 May 2023, the SRC discussed the plan to continue a fundraising event with Mpho Mehlomakulu, a former student and current gospel personality in Pretoria, and the South African Union of Jewish Students’ (SAUJS) Danceathon. The SRC has decided to go through with the fundraising plan which is confirmed in a separate set of minutes leaked to PDBY, the fundraising committee’s minutes.
The Fundraising Committee – What is it? We don’t know
The fundraising committee is not listed as an official committee in terms of the CSG. The CSG officially recognises three committees, and the establishment of a fourth committee would require a constitutional amendment. Thus, as it stands, the existence of a fundraising committee is constitutionally invalid and all their decisions are not binding.
The evidence of this committee and itsactivities comes in the form of meeting minutes leaked to PDBY, dated 10 May 2023 and titled “Fundraising Committee”. The members of various faculty house executive committees and SRC members were in attendance. These minutes were signed by SRC president Njabulo Sibeko and SRC treasurer Lauren Thabethe. In the minutes, as far as the administration of funds is concerned, Thabethe stated, “[Those] funds will go to the Study Aid Fund cost centre under the SRC.” When asked, Thabethe refused to offer comment on any of the matters raised.
Bombastic Side-Eye – Potential fundraising plans
According to the minutes, the SRC has proceeded with pursuing a series of fundraising plans. The two that raise concerns are called the Arch Worship Gospel Festival and the SAUJS Danceathon.
Per the description within the minutes, the Arch Worship Gospel Festival came into being because “a former SRC member who is an alumni would like to raise 10 million rands through a Gospel Festival and […] a prospective
date where it will take place is sometime in November. [They] further explain[ed] that the suggested ticket price is R100 and that the prospective venue is Hillcrest campus. [They] also stated that the event needs a lot of sponsors
and donors in order to set it up as the cost of set up might be R500 000-R800 000. [They] asked if the committee would be willing to take part in this initiative.” A potential obstacle concerning this event is that it may not be possible to make all the arrangements in time.
Another concern regarding the gospel festival was the stance of Mehlomakulu’s religious organisation on the LGBTQIA+ community. In the SRC meeting minutes dated 2 May 2023, the SRC brought up this issue with Mehlomakulu. According to the minutes, “[Mehlomakulu] said that making decision[s] on that view and perspective is corrupted leadership. [He] mentioned that their stance cannot be a major influence on this. The stance of this course is [more important] than the concern they raised.”
In discussions surrounding the SAUJS Danceathon, Thabethe is cited in the minutes as stating, “[This fundraising attempt is] an upcoming event in which the SRC will be partnering with the South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS). It is a danceathon; students will be encouraged to participate and dance on the stage at the piazza. The more you dance, donations come through to the Study Aid Fund. We are trying to get Investec and Discovery to donate.” Furthermore, Thabethe indicated that the event is still being planned, but it should take place before the cooling-off period. Thabethe also referred to the concerns that other organisations had raised concerning this collaboration and maintained the position that Sibeko stated publicly at the second quarter student forum: “The SRC will work with who they want to work with; we do not discriminate.” Attempts to get comments from the SRC president has yet to comment on the situation.