22 February 2005

Nqobizitha 'Fire' Mlilo

Water woes

We are very fortunate to have such a beautiful learning environment and I appreciate the university's constant efforts to maintain and improve the campus aesthetic. There are times, however - and the present state of severe water shortages represents such a time - when these efforts require prudence and a little extra care.

As I type these words, sprinklers on the rugby fields are shooting water at a rapid rate into the midday heat and stiff breeze. Under these conditions very little of the water ever reaches the ground as almost all of it evaporates. This is a daily routine.

I have made enquiries and understand that the sprinklers are on a timing system. Is there no way - if we must water so much - that we can apply common sense and either (a) turn off the timer and water manually or (b) set these sprinklers to water the grounds in the cool of evening? The same rule should apply to sprinkler systems all over campus, including all those outside the residences and departments.

I trust that all of you reading this message will agree: we need to be more intelligent about saving water at UCT.

Chris Thurman

Duke Metcalf, Estates and Custodial Services, responds:

I appreciate any feedback from members of the UCT community with regards to wasting water on our various campuses.

The irrigation of the rugby fields is, however, another matter. We have recently undertaken a major renovation project of four of our sports fields. This involved levelling the fields with specialised equipment and reseeding them with what is commonly known as "cool season grass", ie grass that grows actively during the rugby season when growth is most critically needed. This is not a unique UCT practice but is in fact a common practice at major sports stadia around the country.

The grass does, however, require cooling during the heat of the day to avoid stressing it too much. Therefore our sports field maintenance contractor is required to "syringe" the fields for an hour each between 10h00 and 12h00, in addition to watering them in the early hours of the morning.

As you are also aware, we use non-potable water from our own UCT earth dam for this purpose. We have already registered this with the City authorities and have the necessary certification from them in this regard.

Defining our destiny

Student Representative Council compass on campus and beyond

On behalf of the Student Representative Council (SRC), a hearty welcome to all returning students and, in particular, welcome to the newest members of our vibrant student movement. We are immensely pleased that you have chosen to be a part of us. The SRC unequivocally renews its commitment to furthering your needs, dreams and aspirations in 2005. We offer you our unfaltering dedication.

The 2005 SRC elects to focus primarily on three areas in our student-interest-driven agenda. These are transformation, transparent and open communication and social responsibility. As students we carry the hopes and dreams of many across the country and across the continent, informed by the incorruptible principle that the people must always govern.


The SRC sets transformation central to our agenda. The notion of transformation is extremely complex but we will remain on this course because it is clear that the transformation agenda must be furthered. This agenda will be satisfied by a series of robust and progressive debates that seek to define who we are and who we should be. In the Student Assembly, we will also debate the Students' Transformation Charter, adopted in 2004, and make practical amendments that will give the charter life. The power of any student movement lies in the involvement of its members. An active involvement of the student body in these debates will facilitate the practical implementation of our work.


The SRC has implemented measures to ensure that the entire student body is kept abreast of the SRC's workings. We have resolved to do this through regular communication in the print media, including Varsity and the Monday Paper, through the regular updating of the SRC website and on UCT Radio. Mass meetings will be yet another tool to achieve optimum communication. We are also putting in place mechanisms to capture the wishes of our members on the satellite campuses. In this way, we will keep you abreast of the SRC's tasks so that you are able to guide us in our work.

Social responsibility

As students we are not an elite class. We are purposeful, young intellectuals who carry with us the spanners to continuously service the vehicle of our future.

The end of wars, poverty, disease and dictatorships across Africa is at the core of the African Renaissance. In order to play our part in the rebirth of our continent we will respond to the socio-economic and political challenges of the country and of our beautiful continent.

We will do this within our means, both independently and in solidarity with other student movements in the country and beyond. Our intention is to amplify your voice to the powers that be in debate aimed at setting the national and continental agenda.

As an SRC we are hopeful that the elections scheduled in the DRC proceed as timed to enable the citizens of the DRC to exercise their infallible right to elect a government of their choice. We are equally hopeful that the parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe on March 31 proceed in a peaceful and tolerant atmosphere in conformity with the SADC protocol on democratic elections.

We offer our solidarity with the student movements in Zimbabwe and deplore any attempts to obscure their voice and voting rights.

On the whole we remain optimistic about the future of Africa.

In 1996 Deputy President Thabo Mbeki, as he then was, in his famous speech 'I am an African', boldly stated: "No one dare contest that I am an African". He further stated: "I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the glades, the rivers, the deserts, the trees, the flowers, the seas and the ever-changing seasons that define the face of our native land."

We echo his sentiments. We owe the continent our full intellect. In the era of African Renaissance we take unapologetic pride in breathing fire into our essence as African people. The African Renaissance is a human journey of hope. We are ready as the "warrior sons and daughters" of the native land to defend all that stands for human freedom, justice and the development of our continent.

Best wishes

Finally, your academic excellence is our priority and all these measures are designed to ensure that your core business as a student is sound. Our humble advice to you would be never to forget the essence of who you are and that you carry on your shoulders the dreams and hopes of many on the African continent. We trust that the commitment that you demand from us and which we have given is the same commitment you will offer others. The power of a student movement always lies in its numbers. We wish you an all-enriching experience at UCT. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Yours in the African Renaissance,
Nqobizitha 'Fire' Mlilo
SRC President 2004/5

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