Bob’s Weekend Paper Wrap – 19 October 2015
By Bob Mabena
The City Press has taken a pretty neutral view of the WITS University story and they have actually simplified it very succinctly. Students are protesting against the latest hike in university fees. For the better half of last week there was a bit of chaos and they pushed their protest to the limit by staging a sit-in on Friday. By 10pm they had secured an audience with the highest decision making body of the institution, includingVice-chancellor, Adam Habib, who then joined them in this protest action. What I think you and I didn’t expect was the re–emergence of a one Mncebo Dlamini – remember him? – he who admires certain qualities in Adolf Hitler? According to the City Press, Dlamini showed leadership and was ushered on top of student shoulders into the halls for the sit-in. In the end, after a long standoff, an agreement was reached. The fee hikes are suspended and the WITS Council will meet and then revert to students today. The students’ strategy was easy to comprehend, I suppose – put pressure on the institution and then in turn, the institution will seek relief from The Minister, who will then meet with the portfolio committee so they can get a mandate, if they so wish, to seek audience with treasury and then get approval on the vway forward from the president. I choose to ignore the obscenities levelled at Blade Nzimande and the President by a Gauteng youth leader.
The Mathews Phosa subterfuge story is till in the papers and it was covered. This is basically a few grown men playing spy vs spy counter spy and I walk briskly past that one too.
And finally…….a beautifully written story in the Sunday Times by Sisonke Msimang. In it Sisonke points to a little tiff between Uncle Gweezi and Social Dev Minister Bathabile Dlamini. At issue is the word “deviant”; which simply means differing from the accepted standards of a society. Mantashe used the word to describe the way the Women’s League voted during the NGC and Dlamini retorted by saying that he had used very strong language and Gwede would never use the word “deviant” to describe men. She further went on to say that women are seen as soft targets. What pricked my conscience though, was the writer’s juxtaposing that incident with Collen Maine’s “dirty panties” response to Ntsiki Mazwai. Sisonke concludes by writing that the fact that Dlamini and her colleagues are capable of identifying sexism as quickly as they did with Mantashe and ignored Maine’s equally insulting comments, something is not right. The women’s league has a relevance and consistency. I’m quite sure that we are all waiting for the day when with the Women’s League we can sing the song “Sisters are doing it for themselves”.