Ingrid Heÿdenrÿch

The 2016/2017 SRC is disputing the the validity of Stellenbosch University’s (SU) reasons for withholding the final portion of their honorarium.

On Monday Martin Viljoen, SU spokesperson, told Die Matie that the 2017 SRC has already received 60% of their honorariums, but that they will not receive any further payment because of the evaluation panel’s findings.

According to a statement that was sent to Die Matie by Liana Maheso, the secretary general of the 2016/2017 SRC, this 60% has not yet been received.

Die Matie reported on Monday that the previous SRC exceeded their budget.

“Among other expenditure, certain SRC members round up high internet costs,” said Viljoen.

The 2016/ 2017 SRC used R90 000 InetKey in a period of eight months according to a source who chose to stay anonymous.

The statement said that if it was true that individual members of the SRC used excessive amounts of data, “the obvious question that arises is why the manager responsible for the cost-centres in question failed to take steps to cap such expenditure.

Viljoen said on Monday that a disciplinary process did take place after a 2016/2017 SRC member ignored a request to discontinue overusing internet.

“SU was forced to block the individual’s access to the internet,” according to him.

The statement said that Nomzamo Ntombela, 2016/ 2017 SRC chairperson, and her colleagues, “reject any attempt to blame the SRC for management’s own failings.”

“They also reject the attempt to suggest that the University was justified in withholding their honorarium on account of unsubstantiated claims of wastage.”

The 2016/2017 SRC also claim in the statement that they object to what appears to be an attempt by the university to “subvert their exercise of their right to challenge the University’s decision”.

Anele Mdepa, manager of student governance, said on Monday that the 2016/ 2017 SRC members have until 27 December to appeal the decision of SU.

Read the full statement:

Nonzamo Ntombela was the President of the first Student Representative Council (SRC) at Stellenbosch University to have a black majority. In accordance with past practice, she was due to receive what the University refers to as a ‘customary honorarium’ at the end of the SRC’s term. However following a process she and SRC colleagues are disputing, the University has withheld a portion of this honorarium. She and her colleagues are also disputing the validity of the reasons given for doing so.

It is generally accepted that it is inappropriate for parties to an internal dispute procedure to comment on proceedings that are pending.  However yesterday, 5 December 2017, the University’s official spokesperson, Martin Viljoen, commented on the reasons the University had withheld the honorarium in an article on the website of Die Matie, the student newspaper. Despite an attorney’s letter sent on behalf of Ntombela and others objecting to this conduct, Viljoen has again commented in an article in today’s Die Burger.

The innuendo in Die Matie article is that Ntombela and her SRC is somehow accountable for the wastage of University funds, as a consequence of individuals members using excessive amount of data. Viljoen makes essentially the same allegation in Die Burger. If indeed there was any basis to the claim that individual members had used excessive amounts of data, however, the obvious question that arises is why the manager responsible for the cost-centres in question failed to take steps to cap such expenditure.

Ntombela and her colleagues reject any attempt to blame the SRC for management’s  own failings. They also reject the attempt to suggest that the University was justified in withholding their honorarium on account of unsubstantiated claims of wastage. They also object in the strongest terms to appears to be an attempt to subvert their exercise of their right to challenge the University’s decision in this regard. The claim by Viljoen in Die Burger that the SRC had already received 60 percent of the honorarium is demonstrably incorrect.