This week’s Student Representative Council (SRC) elections were among the spiciest held at the university.
On the eve of elections tempers flared in the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) after one of its candidates, Feziwe Ndwanyana, was excluded from running for next year’s SRC.
Nwanyana was excluded on grounds of being found guilty of misconduct relating to the 2009 student protest against fee increments. She was in her 1st year at the time and two years later, less than a week before elections, she was handed her “guilty” verdict.
The PYA dubbed this a racist and political delivery of a verdict by Wits management to muffle their cause during elections.
PYA spokesperson Godfrey Maja said: “The Progressive Youth Alliance is highly disgusted by the evil tactics the management is using to thwart the PYA’s progress in the 2011 SRC elections. This evil tactic, among many other evil strategies, is meant to silence the voice of reason at Wits, it shows how much this management is afraid of the progressive masses.
“We call for a review and for the student to be allowed to run. We advise the management to have political tolerance and not use apartheid tactics to silence the voice of students.”
After meetings with the legal office and university management, Nwanyana was permitted to run in the election on certain conditions, just before polls opened on Tuesday.
Non- compliance with electoral rules also proved a challenge for some candidates. The electoral rules state that “all forms of campaigning must cease at 19:00 on the night before the election. On the day of the election the chief electoral officer must take all reasonable steps to ensure that no posters, banners or other campaign materials are placed within 40 metres of polling booths.”
Students complained that PYA members were approaching them outside the polling station on the East Campus lawns.
Chief electoral officer, Jabu Mashinini said: “We have not received any complaint so far. Complaints must be in writing.
“I have been to all the polling stations and have not witnessed candidates giving out pieces of paper.”
Although the Independent Electoral Commission reported a slight increase in the numbers of voters this year, meetings were held on Wednesday to discuss whether to extend the voting days due to the low number of Witsies who voted.
Overall, however, the elections went smoothly and provisional results will to be released this afternoon.