Last year’s campus elections saw a landslide victory as the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) secured all 15 seats on the SRC. This year, opposition party DASO says they are ready to make a comeback, criticising current leadership for not representing all students.
“I am unhappy with the fact that the current SRC seems to only represent ANC supporters,” says Nazley Sharif, Chairperson of DASO Wits
“W hen I walk into the SRC office, I am greeted by a huge ANC poster. W hy is this not an SRC poster?” DASO failed to secure one seat in last year’s election and were widely criticised for having only two candidates running in the election.
“Unfortunately we have to come to the realisation that DASO wasn’t strong at wits. We didn’t have a full executive, and that was one of the main problems,” says Sharif
But Godfrey GaMaja, newly elected chairperson of the ANCYL Wits branch, says there is no opposition on campus. “If there is opposition, we certainly don’t see them.”
GaMaja says certain parties only come to life around election time, and this paints a bad picture of student politics.
“Opposition parties create a bigger space for debate, and they should be more effective and visible. They need to call us to task and challenge our views.”
Bevin Dorkin, former spokesperson of the Young Independent Democrats agreed wholeheartedly with GaMaja’s standpoint.
“It’s true there is no strong opposition on campus,” says Dorkin who along with the rest of the YIDs, resigned from student politics after the YID was forced to disband when the Independent Democrats (ID) merged with the Democratic Alliance (DA).
“Since we disbanded, there has been no effective opposition. We used to put up a fight,” says Dorkin who originally took up position of president of DASO, but resigned a month later.
“We didn’t want to be associated with the authors, originators and benefactors of Apartheid in the form of the DA,” says Dorkin adding that the DA “has absolutely no significant role or position on this campus. Their leaders should never be politics”.
Commenting on the current PYA led leadership Dorkin says they are doing a good job. “To be fair, the PYA currently is more organised than any other political party on campus, but I’d rather spoil my
GaMaja however, remains adamant that even with a strong opposition, the PYA would