Big hearts, deep pock­ets for Wits fund

CityPress - - News - PHUM­LANI SITHEBE LANGA news@city­

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.

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