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Internal strife after UCT Student Representative Council spends R100k on Koko and Mpofu lecture

Internal strife after UCT Student Representative Council spends R100k on Koko and Mpofu lecture
Dali Mpofu at Johannesburg High Court. 17 May 2023. I Former Eskom CEO, Matshela Koko testifies at the Zondo Commission in Johannesburg. 1 March 2021. (Photos: Papi Morake/Gallo Images)

Fellow Student Representative Council members accuse University of Cape Town SRC of by-passing procedures to approve over R100,000 to fund the invitation.

The UCT EFF Student Command-led Student Representative Council (SRC) is alleged to have circumvented standard procedures to authorise over R100,000 for the invitation of former Eskom interim CEO Matshela Koko and legal advocate Dali Mpofu SC.

The money was spent on flights, accommodation, and catering.

Last month, the pair visited UCT as part of the SRC public lecturer series, where they discussed “The Pitfalls of the Zondo Commission” as the theme.

The DA Student Organisation (Daso) claims that for such funding to be approved, the SRC first has to meet, discuss and if there are disagreements, vote before a budget is approved. The UCT SRC is composed of one South African Students Congress (Sasco), two Daso, and 10 EFF Student Command (EFFSC) members.

Correspondence between some SRC members and the SRC Student Advocacy Co-ordinator seen by Daily Maverick shows that the co-ordinator was not aware that the full SRS did not meet to approve the funding.

“In terms of the approval, I was advised by the SRC Presidency that the event was an SRC event and had been approved by the SRC along with the associated costs. I have very much welcomed the constituting of the SRC finance committee as they will need to approve all future costs and I will only sign off once they have approved budget requests,” reads the correspondence.

The EFFSC could have still used its majority to push through budget approval if a meeting had been held.

“To secure funding for these event costs, the SRC presidency fraudulently claimed that the full SRC had voted in favour of this budget, which was not the case,” said Daso’s Tom Wellz.

“Without a finance committee, approval from the full SRC was required for all expenditures. Unfortunately, there was no meeting, and no correspondence was sent to Sasco and Daso members of the SRC regarding the approval. This came to light only when an email was sent to the entire student body inviting them to the event.”

Controversial invitation

In November last year, Koko had his corruption case struck off the roll in the Specialised Commercial Crimes Court in Middelburg, Mpumalanga, over “unreasonable delays” after the NPA’s Investigating Directorate (ID) had asked for yet another postponement.

Read more on Daily Maverick: NPA’s bungled Matshela Koko Kusile corruption case sounds alarm bells over directorate’s preparedness to prosecute

This was Koko’s second invite this year to the university. In March, he was invited to speak to a final-year engineering class. The university faced criticism for the invite, which prompted interim Vice Chancellor Emer Prof Daya Reddy to provide context of the invitation.

Reddy said students of a fourth-year course had been assigned the task of writing an opinion piece on Koko’s term as acting Eskom CEO, using all information available in the public domain, as part of a case study on ethics and professionalism.

“Following [the] completion of their assignments, Mr Koko was invited to address the class and participate in a discussion centred on their assignment topic.

“The lecturer for this course invites around five or six guests each year, often senior individuals in industry or political leaders. Such practice is not uncommon in courses located in one or other of the professional degree programmes. In addition, such engagements provide a space for contestation of sometimes varying ideas, and seek to hone students’ ability to reason critically, to act ethically, and to judge professionally.”

In response to the questions, the UCT SRC said in response to questions they followed all necessary and appropriate steps.

“As the EFFSC holds the majority within the SRC, it is expected for us to have [a] majority vote in many of the decisions taken. The decision to invite Matshela Koko and Adv Dali Mpofu was supported by the absolute majority within our structure. All 10 of the EFFSC’s deployed SRC members approved of the event among the 14 members of the SRC.”

The SRC added that most of the funds were invested in catering, benefiting many students who attended the event.

“R88,000 was allocated to the catering service, with the aim of catering for more than 600 students. The public lecture event aligns with the SRC’s vision of protecting academic freedom and initiating conversations that may be uncomfortable but necessary. It provided students with a valuable opportunity to engage with different perspectives on issues impacting our country.”

Charges have been laid in the Student Governance Court, and Daso is also considering approaching the University Student Disciplinary Tribunal. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Kenneth Arundel says:

    New politicians in the making. You would think it may be different.

  • sapientem victor says:

    They start young

  • James Baxter says:

    What is wrong with paying these guyz this money. They bring education and an alternative opinion than that of the mainstream media. And I am not saying the mainstream media is wrong or right, as we all know that right and wrong is a subjective value judgement founded on what the subject deems to be right based on the subject’s upbringing and whatnot, including the fact that your parents and my parents chose a religion for you and me before we could learn that sucking your toes is a good thing

    • virginia crawford says:

      Alternative opinions are good but isn’t this rather pricey for a day’s work? Inviting cannibals to a discussion on nutrition would certainly provide an alternative view, but would it have any value?

    • Willem Boshoff says:

      Right and wrong isn’t always relative to your upbringing. Facts are facts. Did Koko’s step daughter net R1bn in Eskom contracts while he was CEO? It’s either a fact or not; if yes, there’s very likely corruption at play (as identified by Zondo). The issue at hand is that the EFF is firmly siding with the actors, enablers and defenders of state capture. The EFF’s command is well known for “making deals with the devil” (in Malema’s words), and one can see their alignment with the RET/Zuma cabal. That the EFF has hijacked UCT’s SRC is a great shame and telling of the revolutionary climate on campuses, where the object isn’t learning but enforcing your political ideology. This R100k was blown; they might as well have gotten Markus Jooste to come and tell them about the pitfalls of proper auditing. Its a disgrace.

    • Noel Soyizwaphi says:

      I’m a believer that any form of learning is mind expansion and learning at university level should be approached with open mind. R146 cost per student is reasonable. This is student democracy in action and Daso/Sasco must campaign more or merge not just to defeat EFFCO, but for their own programs to be implemented at the university.

      • virginia crawford says:

        Unless it’s how too loot and get away with it.

      • js expat says:

        And so the students have their “open” minds filled with the wisdom of a thief that escaped prison with the help of an old Eskom beneficiary acting as “Temporary magistrate”. By inviting him you elevate a thief to become a role model. Is that where you see this country ending up….your Utopia?

      • js expat says:

        The subject is the irregular spending of the money, not the doubtful merit of EFF young warriors partying after having been “educated” by a master of the trade. Be careful of “any form of learning” It is a wide concept and I would not exactly call those two teachers of repute.

    • js expat says:

      James, what exactly is your point about the alleged irregular spending? On behalf of your parents I apologize that you were born into a certain set of values that you enforced upon you without your consent as a baby sucking toes.

  • John Smythe says:

    Birds of a feather.

  • John Murray says:

    It does not sound quite right that the student representative council arrange such an event.
    I think that money could have been spent better on something else. Like maybe a publication to share with the public the thoughts of our young students in Cape Town.

  • Noel Soyizwaphi says:

    The UCT students are very brave and are demonstrating why they are at that level of learning. Thave have now earned their place at that institution of higher learning. Any form of education is mind expansion and an expanding mind is an open mind. These are real life learning experiences and now they are better equipped to make informed judgments.

  • virginia crawford says:

    The irony of “irregular expenditure ” to criticize the Zondo Commission.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      And Virginia if I may add why Koko? he was accused of corruption and tender monopoly and was not acquitted on innocence but on technicalities.
      Can they publish the short comings of the Zondo commission including their view on Zuma failing to attend when the corruption happened under his watch and his son accidentally scored billions from the rot.
      we would also like to understand why poor grade coal was allowed from mines owned by the Guptas/Duduzane and could have fired the substations in Koko’s tenure.
      Mpofu is representing Zuma on a contempt of court ruling imposed by Zondo during the Zondo commission, is it not a conflict of interest?
      As for the food the 2 guests could be provided for but students know where they get their meals everyday and they were still in the same environment.
      Was the lunch well deserved anyway?

  • Coenie Harley says:

    “Pay back the money!!! “

  • Rod H MacLeod says:

    ‘bye UCT

  • bigbad jon says:

    The R100k figure was a bit of a shock, the invited speakers are not short of funds.. Mpofu ‘earned’ millions in taxpayer money using Stalingrad tactics in hopeless cases that he lost anyway. But it seems most was spent on catering so.. The video and images from X give us an impression about the evening. UCT meetings under the EFF look and sound like political rallies, with singing and chanting being the order of the day. This was our top university, now inviting frauds and crooks to give lectures.. Seeing that the whole student body was invited this probably gives a distorted impression of who goes to UCT nowadays. But no-one I know allows their kids to be educated there anymore.

  • David Pennington says:

    They just can’t help themselves

  • Henry Henry says:

    Fort Hare’ing UCT down.

  • Geoff Coles says:

    Children pretending to be adults, these EFF……. but too, where does the money come from?

  • Agf Agf says:

    The UCT SRC, dominated by the EFF, is a microcosm of a future SA dominated by the EFF.

  • Case Rijsdijk says:

    I agree with Geoff – where does the money come?

  • Greeff Kotzé says:

    The silver lining is that students at UCT just might learn, early on, that we get what we vote for — or neglect to vote against.

    Looking at the composition of this SRC, I suspect that it’s more of the latter than the former.

  • William Dryden says:

    Its a well known fact that Mpofu is the EFF’s lawyer and ex EFF member, hence the EFFSC paid him and KoKo to come to the university under the guise of a public lecture event, from criminals as well. The mind boggles as to the extent of corruption in all spheres of society in South Africa..

  • Johan Buys says:

    10 of 14 SRC seats at UCT are EFF?

    As a Matie we always knew we were far better on the sports field but never imagined that we were also twenty times smarter.

  • Lenka Mojau says:

    Well I do not see anything with that invitation, the Students benefited. R88000 translate to less than R150 per student. When money is spend this way it circulate, first the caterer benefits plus employees but when we look at students the money has long term benefits. The argument that money was blown is misplaced. Those students have a different view now of the whole saga. Note they are future leaders and they must get opinions from both sides to make an informed decisions. I am looking forward to watch that video.

    • Jacques Siebrits says:

      Glad you think it’s worthwhile to get the most unsuccessful senior advocate in the land (and somebody who shows contempt to all and sundry in court and is allowed to get away with that) and a suspected party to corruption to talk to students. I’m sure the attendees left much wiser.

    • Random Comment says:

      Do you work in Government by any chance?
      This is exactly the argument used by those that plunder, misuse, misappropriate, waste and steal TAXPAYER’s money.

  • Dave Gould says:

    I feel a lot of the comments are a bit harsh, it is important for students to learn from experts in their field. The next session should perhaps include Fikile Mbalula to lecture on how even clowns have a place in politics, or maybe Iqbal Surve on how victim mentality is a solid business strategy.

  • anton kleinschmidt says:

    Is there still any value in a UCT degree?

    • Dominic Rooney says:

      I warned three of my children who obtained degrees from UCT to seek further qualifications from institutions outside this country as I believe that in time a UCT degree will carry no weight. An acquaintance of mine who obtained a law degree from the University of Zimbabwe – a perfectly good school at the time – during the early 80s received no credit for this degree in terms of applying for immigration visas to Australia and, as I recall, Britain, twenty years later.

    • Geoff Young says:

      Depends when it was awarded! Hopefully my UCT degrees from 30 years ago are still worth the same as Wits or Stellies.

      • Ben Harper says:

        It appears it doesn’t matter when it was obtained, countries are outright rejecting degrees from certain establishments no matter when they were obtained – UNISA is top of the blacklisted entities

  • Lu Nqg says:

    So they felt that just because they were in the majority, they could just do what they want without following proper procedures?

    If they can throw out the law on something so small what does that mean for everything else?

    And also, I don’t understand what they were afraid of. If they had a majority, they could’ve gotten what they wanted.

    Were they afraid of some type of backlash concerning the budget?

  • Martin Bongers says:

    You should be attending lecture series primarily to feed the mind.

    The catering works out to R145 per person, which assumes that all 600 people attended. That is pricey for tea/coffee/finger foods.

    Few students vote in SRC elections, because they often feel it has no impact on their student lives. This should be warning for those who do not vote.

  • Gavin Hillyard says:

    I didn’t realize that BSc Looting was a degree at UCT

  • Middle aged Mike says:

    Glad I was able to persuade my daughter to study at Stellies.

  • PJ T says:

    Cost of flights – sure, a few other S&T costs – sure, but R88,000 – ridiculous.
    The two individuals need the opportunity to present their case more than the audience needs to hear it – they should be delighted to have a free platform on which put across their views.

    Typical EFF – wasting money on their own.

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