The residence circuses have been cancelled due to a new ruling that prevents students from campaigning in reses.
THE SRC election campaign is due to be severely curtailed after the university has ruled that student politicians can no longer campaign in class rooms or in residences, including res circuses.
This follows a meeting between campus political parties and the dean of students on Wednesday.
Initially, Wits chief electoral officer Jabu Mashinini told Wits Vuvuzela that the residence circuses had been postponed on Wednesday morning.
“They are not cancelled they are on hold pending further investigation and we need to ensure that we can provide safety and security for staff and students,” she said.
At the time, Mashinini said that the reason for their postponement was because of the fight that happened at the Great Hall during the inaugural SRC debate. “We cannot ensure safety for anyone at this stage,” said Mashinini.
However, after meetings with other electoral officers the tune changed on Wednesday afternoon when Mashinini said that campaigning in the residences, including the res circuses, had been cancelled. The reason given for the cancellation was that there was “no time to feature all the reses.”
She said the election office did want to give preference to certain residences and so all res circuses would be cancelled.
Instead of campaigning at the reses, circuses have been broken up into clusters, with evening debates taking place at Braamfontein and Park Town.
First hints that campaigning in the residences would be cancelled came on Tuesday when the All Student Residence Council (ARC) tweeted that the res circuses were postponed until further notice. This came straight after the brawl which broke out at the Great Hall between the Wits Economic Freedom Fighters, Progressive Youth Alliance and Project W at the SRC Elections debate.
This was followed by the cancellation of another circus planned at the West campus FNB Building during lunch on Wednesday.
Project W’s campaign manager Jamie Mighti said that, “the problem is deeper than” a decision to cancel the circuses due to a lack of time to feature all of the residences. He claimed that the real reason for the cancellation was that there was a ruling which had been passed by Vice Chancellor Adam Habib that prevents students from campaigning in the reses.
Mighti slammed the decision to cancel the res circuses. “Obviously it impedes our campaign,” he said, adding that it would create an unfair and unfree political environment for students said Mighti.
Mighti said Project W would be taking Wits University to court to demand the right to campaign.
“We are actually taking the university to court in the next two days,” said Mighti. He said the decision to cancel res circuses is a violation of the constitution.
Previously, when asked about the postponement of the res circuses on Wednesday morning Wits head of communications Shirona Patel said the decision would be taken by electoral officers.
“The electoral officers will be meeting today to decide how to take it forward and they are now reworking their plan to see what event they will have to lead up to the SRC elections,” said Patel.