AS CAMPAIGNING for SRC elections enters its last leg, one of the final circuses ended with a walkout after EOH students felt disrespected by an official from the Student Development and Leadership Unit (SDLU).
There was trouble from the start when the Ernest Men (residents of Ernest Oppenheimer House) murmured in disapproval as the SDLU’s Nicole Msomi read out the rules of engagement at the start of the circus. As the event went on, it became obvious they did not appreciate how they were addressed by the university official.
Msomi accused the Ernest Men of not wanting to play by the rules and not wanting the SDLU, who are coordinating the SRC elections, present at the residence.
The situation got worse during the question and answer period. One of the Ernest Men asked the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) a question when it was the Democratic Alliance Student Association (Daso) turn to be queried.
“You see, you were not even listening,” said Msomi.
That was the last straw for the Ernest Men. They began heckling Msomi, then stood up and walked out. Some SRC candidates went after them in an unsuccessful attempt to get the Ernest Men to return.
“That woman, that woman, that woman…” muttered an Ernest Man.
Following the walkout, Msomi gathered with campaign managers from the political organisations to discuss the way forward but they could not reach an agreement that would suit all the candidates.
Some of the candidates asked for rule changes and for Msomi to step down as the debate chair, but were rebuffed by the SDLU official.
Msomi then declared the EOH circus to be over and left the residence.
The show must go on
However, after Msomi left, the circus resumed with the Ernest Men returning and the candidates organising what turned out to be a very civil debate. The EOH circus had started more than 30 minutes late because initially there were only a few students and PYA members in the audience. Project W candidate Jamie Mighti was one of those who tried to calm the situation at EOH.
Mighti had himself gotten into trouble earlier in the week on Monday when he was kicked out of a circus at Education Campus for misbehaviour. According to witnesses, Mighti got upset after a student asked why they should vote for him after he had accused students of having flat bums.
The student was referring to a Facebook spat the candidate had been involved in earlier this year.
The PYA has been the more confident political organisation. The SRC has been PYA-led for the past three years, allowing their candidates to campaign on an established record.
Daso candidates have displayed a lot of passion but have struggled to win over Witsies.
- Wits Vuvuzela. SRC Elections: One big circus. August 16, 2013