Big hearts, deep pockets for Wits fund
The Students’ Representative Council (SRC) at Wits University has raised about R3 million so far for its Wits Access campaign for poor students.
There are 8 000 Wits students who are deep in debt to the institution and cannot afford to continue with their education, and the SRC aims to raise R10 million to ease their plight by the end of the month.
The organisers of this initiative placed Perspex containers on the East Campus Library Lawns and students have been encouraged to donate whatever they can. The boxes are watched by campus guards, and the takings are counted at the end of the day, placed in bank bags and stored in the university’s safe.
Rappers iFani and Cassper Nyovest have donated R50 000 to the cause. Big business and academic groups have also shown an interest and have opened up their chequebooks.
Nedbank has weighed in with the biggest donation so far of R2 million.
A nongovernmental organisation called The Council for Education has donated R50 000; and Abbott laboratories, a multinational pharmaceutical, medical devices, diagnostics and nutrition products company, gave the Access campaign R600 000. The Academic Staff Association of Wits has forked out R100 000.
The Access campaign, with the help of a Cape Town-based telecommunications company, has also put in place an SMS line for people to make donations. These texts will cost you R30 across all networks. This initiative was still waiting for Wits management services and procurement departments to add this company to its vendor list, which was holding things up considerably, the SRC said.
The unnamed company will facilitate the SMS process once it has been approved. In addition to funding challenges, there is also an accommodation crisis, but management is in talks with private housing companies and is compiling a database of students who have nowhere to stay.