Less than 10% of students had cast their vote for the 2011/2012 Student Representative Council by midday on Wednesday, the last day for voting.
Throughout the day, there were more people queuing for 2012 enrolment queries outside the Student Enrolment Centre in Senate House than at the voting station next to it.
Wits University has more than 29 000 students enrolled, yet only an estimated 925 students across all campuses had voted with only 5 hours left until the polls closed. A further 220 students needed to vote before the 10% mark could be reached.
Chief electoral officer, Jabu Mashinini, said the electoral committee held a meeting to consider extending the deadline for voting because by the end of Wednesday just over a 1000 students had cast their vote.
Mashinini added that the number of voters had increased this year.
Brian Bonani Gqoyi, a BSc computer science student, said he didn’t vote because of his lack of interest and not finding anything to attract him to the elections.
Parties and independent candidates vying for student’s votes campaigned for two weeks before elections and even promoted themselves for votes on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. SMS campaigning was also used as a strategy to attract voters to polls.
But, despite all the efforts taken by the voting candidates to campaign, Wits students are not taking the time to vote.
Akin Oyedele, a 3rd year BA student and first-time voter, was one of the students who made their mark in electing next year’ s SRC.
“I voted this year because I haven’t voted before and I don’t like the idea of a one-party SRC. A one-party government anywhere isn’t exactly ideal because there has to be [an] opposition and it’s better if it comes from within the council,” said Oyedele.
In another 12 months we’ll see whether the incoming SRC will make enough of an impact to evoke significant voter interest in students at Wits.