Red tape for the maroon merch

CATHERINA VAN DER MESCHT


All Stellenbosch University (SU) merchandise is acquired through the Matie Shop, whether it concerns the brands of a residence, PSO, society or sport club. Concerns about this policy have been raised by students buying merchandise through the shop. According to SU’s Corporate Identity Policy, the sourcing of merchandise must be done via a three-quote system through the Matie Shop, who is managed by SUNCOM – an independent business division at the SU.

“[We] do not agree with the monopolisation of the use of Stellenbosch creditors,” Minelle van der Walt, merchandise HK member of Capri, said. Being the merchandise HK, Van der Walt had first-hand experience regarding the process of ordering merchandise through the Matie Shop. “I was very frustrated with the entire process, to say the least. We encountered multiple problems along the way,” she said.

Hein Swanepoel, senior director of SUNCOM, said that all merchandise must be sourced via the Matie Shop.

“The shop is the entity responsible for the protection of all the brands of the university which includes residences and societies,” he added.

According to Swanepoel, “They [the Matie Shop] are also tasked to ensure due process is followed in the sourcing of these products in line with applicable SU policies. The value of the University and all associated entities is reflected in our associated marks and the quality of the product that we use.”

Due to the rebranding of Libertas to Capri, the PSO was “pushed for time” and only confirmed their designs after the Matie Shop order’s due date.

“I am very grateful for the help and support that Charlene Wicomb from the Matie Shop gave us regarding the late orders, but communication was a constant struggle,” acknowledged Van der Walt.

Roxy Hofer, Olympus merchandise HK member, said that the process to acquire merchandise for the PSO was “time consuming.”

“Emails were not answered promptly, or at all in certain instances. This forced us to go to the Maties Shop in person to see the progress on the clothing, which took about three months,” she said.

According to Martin Babl, the merchandise manager of the Maties Latin and Ballroom Dance Society, the Maties Shop is not only a form of quality control but also a valuable source of expertise.

“The Maties Shop is there to streamline the process of acquiring merchandise,” Babl said. Babl further acknowledged that the Matie Shop “has the administrative and legislative power to protect societies from merchandise producers.”

“It is a check and balance for accountability,” Alten du Plessis, Eendrag’s merchandise HK member, said. “As much as we complain about bureaucracy and how slow things are with the University, as a student you also have to do your part,” he added.

 

Photo: Catherina Van Der Mescht

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