By: Simbarashe Nyatsanza
The 2018/19 nationwide University SRC elections is slowly coming to what many, in some cases, might call a disputed end. This follows allegations of vote buying and voter intimidation that surfaced from some campuses across the country such as the Cape Peninsula University of Technology’s District Six, as well as reports of deliberate delays in the announcement of election results.
It can be said, however, that disregarding some of these minor altercations, the election season proceeded well and produced particularly interesting and exciting results at certain campuses.
Results from the Western Cape’s three main universities will be discussed below.
CPUT’s Mowbray, Belliville and District Six campuses were scooped 100% by the re-energized EFFSC. This does not come completely as a surprise considering the approaches employed by the EFFSC since last year . These efforts have transformed the EFFSC at CPUT from a barely-visible pseudo populist fringe leftist student movement into an all encompassing, competently run organization that is quickly bridging the gap between students and the outside community at large through facilitating social gatherings among students, and engaging in community outreach programs.
The former approach has proved quite effective as nearly all of CPUT’s campuses have been overtaken by the reds, out performing both PASMA and SASCO who have alternated hegemony at the university for the past few years. It is only at Wellington Campus that the EFFSC failed to replicate its earlier victories, gunnering absolutely no seats at all while SASCO shared an equal number of seats with the Independents, with PASMA taking the remaining seat.
Elections at the University of the Western Cape occurred without any major disturbances. The results proved once again that the UWC remains PASMA’s last bastion of some kind of resistance; PASMA leads the SRC after winning seven seats, closely followed by SASCO’s five.
SASCO’s reported arrogance when in power has apparently proved to be the cause of their slow demise, bearing in mind that just last year they won the elections with an overwhelming majority.
This time around there is no trace at all of the EFFSC in UWC’s incoming SRC.
The UCT elections saw a renewed EFFSC taking over from an impotent and rather out of touch DASO that failed to maintain its self proclaimed competency just after a few months of flirting with power.
DASO’s condescending conduct during its reign in the SRC last year saw it losing support among the ‘silent majority’ it had so flagrantly appealed to during its campaign period. Their internal implosions and power struggles did not help much with their cause either. Instead this led, very early on in their tenure, to the organization falling into disrepute and some of its prominent members engaging in public spats with its leadership.
It does not surprise much to realize that with just three seats, DASO has little representation in the incoming EFFSC led UCT SRC.
The Maties campus has an ‘apolitical’ student governance structure however the majority of members are affiliated to DASO. The council consists of fifteen seats, nine of which are elected members and six ex-officials. DASO has no credible opposition in the campus.
Although it appears in the Western Cape and indeed nationwide that the Reds are taking over, organisations such as PASMA and SASCO, which appear to be showing a general decline in support nationally, still hold some kind of influence, if not dwindling, at some campuses. It remains to be seen if these other organizations will gain as much traction as the EFFSC has this year.