Improved safety and a reduction in student exclusions are some of the key issues that the 2012/2013 SRC candidates are aimingfor as voting starts tomorrow. The election campaigns of all candidates have so far focussed on the following areas.
Safety on Campus:
Two students were robbed at gunpoint the last semester outside the William Cullen Library and a recent Wits Vuvuzela article showed that crime in Braamfontein is spilling onto Wits due to lost and stolen student cards which allow non-Witsies to get onto campus
The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) aims to counter this trend through creating a properly lit safety route for students living on and near campus. The planned route will go from the Wartenweiler overnight library to the bus stop.
The PYA also wants to increase the number of panic buttons and CCTV cameras on the proposed safety route.
Registration fees are also an area of concern for Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO) and the PYA. Students and the current SRC protested earlier this month against an increase in next year’s registration fee to R 8 600.
The current PYA-led SRC has negotiated with management to have students, who can neither afford the upfront registration fee nor qualify for financial aid, register for free for the first two weeks.
DASO wants to delay the interest charges on student loans granted by the National Students Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) until the students have completed their studies.
The PYA and DASO campaigns
The PYA is campaigning to have student’s examination scripts returned to the students. They also want supplementary examinations for all faculties. The health of students is high on the PYA’s campaign list. They want campus health to extend their operating hours to later in the evening and are calling for the erection of bus shelters at all bus pick up and drop off zones.
DASO wants to set up functioning offices across campuses to ensure greater student participation in leadership activity.
The PYA and DASO are both campaigning for a one week study break after the final semester lectures have ended. According to the DASO manifesto, mid and end-of-year exams start the day after the final semester lectures have ended and this presents students with a huge challenge.
There are also three independent candidates running in this year’s election: Tiisetso Murray, Welcome Lishivha and Muntaha Anvar.
– Welcome Lishivha
In a rally ,last week, Lishivha commented that voters should be concerned with what individuals have done and not what parties have done. One of Lishivha’s main goals is to increase voter turnout. Last year less than 20% of students voted in the SRC elections.
According to Independent Electoral Committee (IEC) for an SRC to be recognised by the university it should be voted into power by 25% of the student body.
Murray is campaigning to bring the SRC “back to life” through addressing students’ needs and wants through engaging with social media and he also aims to address the delay in service delivery by the university.
Anvar also aims to streamline library services to ensure students have access to books and reading material at all times.
Voting polls open tomorrow and Wednesday, and the results will be announced on Friday.