The newly elected Accounting Students Council (ASC) sat in on a meeting with their predecessors on Monday to learn the tools of the trade for when they take office on April, 1. The new members were announced last Thursday after recent elections.
This year the selection process for the members of the ASC was more rigorous than in previous years.
According to Mandisa Makubu, the outgoing secretary, candidates had to submit motivation letters and had the opportunity to present to fellow students. The Student Representative Council (SRC) counted votes, a process that was previously handled by the outgoing ASC. Additionally, in previous years, candidates were given little time to prepare for elections as they were only required to address students for less than a minute long.
Goals of the new ASC
New ASC members intend to prioritise the line of communication between management and the students. Thanda Mthethwa said they hope to “be a firm intermediary between students and the head of school … and build a relationship for students to experience accountability between management and the council.”
Tshepiso Pooe said their aim was to reintroduce student governance. “Students didn’t have a voice last year, we had a council but we couldn’t raise our voices”. He said they wanted to lay a foundation for the school council of 2015. “We have a lot of plans, but if we don’t have functional student governance, we can’t implement those plans … We can’t do everything, we only have one year.”
A word from the outgoing chairperson
Outgoing chairperson, Sikho Ntshengulana, had high expectations for the new ASC, stating they seemed more “committed” due to the “rigorous election process”. Last year, the ASC had to deal with a high turnover of members. Other challenges included not having a “defined space in the School of Accountancy,” said Ntshengulana. According to Ntshengulana they did not have guidance and did not know the role of the student council. “We were not sure where to fit in,” he said.
He said they were not taken as seriously as other student bodies and a lot had to do with the fact that it was a young school council that only started two years ago. However, they have overcome many of their problems. Having a permanently appointed head of school made a difference. “ Professor Nirupa Padia (Head of the School of Accountancy) is sympathetic to our cause,” he said.