SRC President Mthokozisi Nkosi came to office after a student parliament meeting on 8 March. Perdeby sat down with him for an exclusive interview.
Why did you become involved in student politics?
Being involved in student politics is my way of contributing to the betterment of the country. In DASO, there were no blacks actively involved and I wanted people to see that blacks can be actively involved in the DA. Growing the opposition is very important.
What is your personal philosophy?
Whatever you want to achieve, if you have guts, you can achieve it, regardless of the challenges that seem to be in front of you. If you focus, you can achieve anything.
How will this affect your actions as SRC President?
There are so many things I want to do this year and I will achieve them regardless of the challenges before me. My philosophy will drive me to make sure that I achieve things and break new boundaries to show that there is change in the SRC. My actions around the university should show that there is change.
Why did you run for SRC President?
Initially, I wasn’t going to run for SRC President. But as a matter of principle, I ran, because I couldn’t be in an SRC where a person had uttered things that encourage segregation. So I thought that it would be best for the people to be able to unite behind someone who stands for people of both races. Whether I lost or not, at least I tried.
What have you achieved so far for students?
Last year I started the SRC Study Aid Fund. I was able to convince the SRC to allocate a certain amount of money to the fund. We are now going to aid 174 students with R800 [each]to buy textbooks. My portfolio was somewhat insignificant but I was able to make something big out of it and this enabled people to realize that, as SRC President, I will also be able to come up with something new for the SRC. The good thing about this fund is that it is not a once-off thing, it is a continual thing and we are going to help another 100 students next semester.
What are your goals as SRC President?
First of all it is to make students at Tuks look beyond race. I want to make sure that we are united and that we look beyond all these stereotypes and rather focus on the capabilities of individuals. I hope to do this, first of all, in the SRC so that we can look at each other as Tuks students and not as black or white Tuks students. I also want to bring back student life to the university. I want to make sure that this year we have fun. We are also looking into helping students in Arcadia to get transport to the university. Hopefully we will be able to do that by the end of this term. I also want us to look into getting reduced prices on the Gautrain for students. I also want to unite students and want us to be able to understand each other’s culture, and to accept it and tolerate it, and to still work well together.
What legacy would you like to leave behind as SRC President?
I’d like people to remember me as a person who came up with innovative ideas that were not meant for [the] short term, but for a longer period. I also want to be remembered as a person who achieved more things in a single year than any SRC President in the past 103 years. I also want to be remembered as someone who was able to bring a very diverse group of people together to stand up for students. I want to be remembered as someone who was able to be a unifying figure in the University of Pretoria.
Also see the Deputy President, Secretary General and Treasurer profiles under News on perdeby.co.za
Photo: Liandri Pretorius