Friday, 9 September 2011

Student Politics

DASO on a serious note
NMMU elections will take place on all campuses on the 21st September 2011 and already, a student organization known as DASO (Democratic Alliance Student Organisation) has started campaigning. Their campaign took place on Tuesday sixth September at the Kraal on South Campus whilst many students watched them do a flash mob.
At first everybody was confused as to what was happening, but soon this progressed into a jolly dance where most of the students joined in to have fun. Yusuf Cassim, leader of DASO said that the organization is not satisfied with service delivery. “We want change and we want better services for all students. Viva DASO viva!” said Cassim.
According to Cassim, the reason for this campaign is that the elections are around the corner and they want to make students aware of their organization. “it is our second year running for elections and in last year’s elections we got four seats, therefore we hope to get more seats through this campaign,” he said. A DASO member, Mkhokheli Bandla who is also a journalism student said that the organization has started a ‘Hungry Minds’ feeding scheme. “We go to Missionvale campus every Tuesdays and Thursdays and hand out sandwiches and juice to students who can’t afford meals. The reason for this is that Missionvale campus is located in remote area where most of the students who attend there are previously disadvantaged,” he said.
Previously, the organization was known as Democratic Alliance Youth (DA Youth), but now the name has changed to DASO, this is according to Marissa Thring who is running for Faculty of Arts within DASO. “As part of our campaign, we go around each campus canvassing and informing students about DASO, but what has come to my attention is that most of the students, especially in Second Avenue campus are unaware of SRC (Student Representative Council) as a whole. It then becomes difficult to explain what DASO is about and those are the challenges we are facing so far,” she said. She continued to say that the main point is to make sure that the students’ needs are met and the organization doesn’t marginalize anyone because they are all equal.
“We want to help students in every way we can and make sure that the money goes to student societies and their basic needs,” Thring said. A trusted source revealed that the NMMU SRC runs on a budget of R2.6 million where R100 is deducted from students’ accounts each year and yet they fail to deliver basic services to the students. According to Thring, the SRC of the University of Cape Town runs a budget of R280 000 and yet they were voted the best SRC in the country. “Why can’t NMMU do the same? We have a much higher budget to meet students’ needs,” she said.
DASO seems to be on a serious note according to their 2011 manifesto which states the following:
·         An SRC fund that assists students in paying their student debt, allowing them to register and qualify for financial aid;
·         The covering of private accommodation by NSFAS;
·         An increase in the NSFAS book and meal allowances;
·         A 24 hour library service during exam periods;
·         An increase in computer capacity to meet student demand and
·         Social events that cater to all students.
This is to name a few, according to DASO leader. He said that they will fight for all students and his message to other student organisations is that they must keep student politics aside and focus on what needs to be done.
Nomfundo Nondzube

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