Siphiwe Khumalo’s tenacious spirit and passion for engaging with students has made him the perfect choice as the newly elected President General for Majuba TVET College’s Student Representative Council (SRC). He’s proficient negotiating skills and adept problem- solving abilities get impasses resolved in the shortest possible time. Khumalo’s duties as President General incorporate the smooth running of five campuses which are affiliated to Majuba TVET College. “I have to ensure student issues are attended to timeously,” he said.
Khumalo began his own tertiary education in 2014at the same College, where he studied Electrical Engineering. “Due to the student unrest, I did not continue my studies but took a break.” It was for this reason Khumalo dedicated his time to, and later become involved in, the Student Representative Council. Getting back into the saddle, he re-registered last year at the Information Technology and Business Campus (IT&B) to study Public Management.
Khumalo believes, to ensure issues are involved in an amicable way, one needs to be involved in the decision making process. “You can’t sit around and wait for people to help. I assume leadership responsibilities to ensure there are alternative ways to resolve issues other than with strikes,” he elaborated.
On the topic of student strikes, Khumalo explained that issue resolutions were dealt with at campus level. “Students need to exhaust all the options available to them, and follow protocol within the campus structure before escalating them to the Central Office.” He says strikes cannot be prevented, but good negotiating skills and presenting a case that addresses student’s serious concerns, showed commitment and dedication to resolving the problems. Khumalo says being attentive was one of the qualities of being a good leader in the SRC. “It’s not just about listening to the complaint, but also understanding the matter at hand. Most people use this as an opportunity to gain benefits from the discord but this should not be the goal,” he exclaimed.
Khumalo believes the ethos of being a credible leader for students is not to provide false promises. “As an SRC, we should let the students know what is or is not achievable. This is how students will support you.” Khumalo’s aim is to iron out certain issues students are currently facing, when it comes to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS). “The biggest issue is that NSFAS grants are not being paid to students on time. Some of these students use this grant to pay for their accommodations and transport to and from the campus,” he emphasized. “It is our responsibility to ensure the students get paid this grant on time, to enable them to attend classes daily and which will assist them to excel academically,” he concluded.