Newly-elected Central SRC President Mr Sanele Hlongwa says he will spend his tenure as leader of the student body at the University of KwaZulu-Natal championing the rights of students and embracing diversity at the University’s five campuses.

Hlongwa, who is known as “Phoyisa” among his friends and comrades, is doing his final-year Bachelor of Education degree in Maths and Geography at Edgewood campus. He plans on building a ‘harmonious and peaceful environment in UKZN, where our students and all members of the UKZN community support and embrace diversity and tolerate one another.’

He is committed to ensuring students at off-campus residences have the same facilities available to students housed on campus, citing wifi, hot water and security as some of the issues on his agenda. ‘We will work with the University in trying to bring better services to all students,’ he said.

Hlongwa was inspired to get involved in student politics after being assisted by the SRC when he first arrived at UKZN. ‘I come from a rural, disadvantaged background (the Maphumulo, Mbitane area in KwaZulu-Natal under Chief Zubane), so when I got to the university I had no funding and no registration fee,’ he said. ‘My family couldn’t even afford my transport fee while I was looking for space to study at the university.’ He was helped by a member of the SRC to get NSFAS and a place at UKZN. This inspired him to assist others. ‘Ever since then, I’ve wanted to help those who are struggling and coming from working class families as my priority.’

Hlongwa emphasised the importance of equipping students to compete nationally and internationally in sports and music. ‘We want UKZN to invest money on these platforms and build better facilities for students to train themselves.’

Another one of his goals is the establishment of a University radio station through which students are kept abreast of University matters and newsworthy issues in the country.

Hlongwa wished his fellow students the best of luck for their exams. ‘They came a long way, facing challenges in the semester, but they managed to get through such difficulties. Some were faced by illnesses but they made it. Therefore, this is the last kick of the dying horse (exams) they need to put in the last effort and work to the best of their ability. I trust all of them will excel. Just a reminder to students: There is nothing impossible if the possibility of it being possible is possible. All the best!’

He encouraged students to enjoy the festive season responsibly and to have a good time with their families.

The young student leader said: ‘Lastly, I wish to thank all students who voted me to SRC Presidency and my colleagues, thanks to the SGLD team led by Muzomuhle Mhlongo and the broader Student Services division led by Dr Rose Laka-Mathebula for having peaceful and fair SRC elections.

‘I wish to thank former president Sandile Zondi, Magama Dlamini, Bongani Mthiyane, Ntokomalo Mngoma, Fulufhelo Mulidzwi and Ahmed Rajah for service they gave and dedication their showed during their term of office. Wish them all the best in their future careers and leadership development,’ he said.

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer