The School Council Elections will be taking place until March 24.
School council elections kicked off at Wits University this week but student organisation Wits EFF says it is concerned about vote rigging.
The student party has requested that an external auditing organisation be charged with counting the votes during the elections happening at 35 Wits schools till next week.
“We must demand an independent IEC (Independent Electoral Commission) for the process of vote tallying, to make sure that it is fair and just,” the student party tweeted through its Twitter account @WitsEFF.
— Wits EFF (@WitsEFF) March 11, 2017
Deputy chairperson of Wits EFF Othandwayo Mgqoboka said his organisation finds it problematic that the Student Representative Council (SRC) oversees the school council elections because of the political stance they take.
“People who are upholding the offices there at the moment come from the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) and they have a political interest invested in elections and the election process as they want to govern schools just as other organisations would want to,” she said.
SRC Student Governance Officer Ntokozo Luthuli believes that having an independent oversight body will be costly and will be impossible under the current budgetary constraints.
“We can call in the independent IEC but it is costly to do so, probably like a huge portion of the SRC budget would have to go to the school council elections.”
Luthuli also believes that regardless of who is handling the voting processes, allegations of rigging will always arise.
“Directly we do not handle those issues. We have the office of student governance, they handle all the ballot papers,” he said.
To counter the concerns of vote rigging, the SRC has teamed up with a fourth-year mechanical engineering student who has designed an app which will allow students to cast their vote from their mobile phone or computer.
The app was specifically designed to assist in the students’ voting experience for the school elections taking place this week.
The “Election App” as it is called, will be implemented as a pilot program in the School of Engineering, Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, and Actuarial Science, while the other schools will continue to use the older paper ballot system.
The School council elections will be taking place until March 24.