THE Progressive Youth Alliance walked away with all 15 seats on the Student Representative Council after last week’s elections.
The successful candidates celebrated their second consecutive victory to represent students on what should be the most powerful student council on campus at the Matrix on Friday.
PYA electoral spokesperson, Shimi Matlala, said the key strategy to their success was to be on the ground with the students, going door-to-door encouraging students to vote for the PYA.
“PYA candidates sacrificed a lot of their academic time and focused on elections during the election week and despite the problems we faced with Fezile’s exclusions and readmission, we were still on the ground with the students,” Matlala said.
Chief electoral officer, Jabu Mashinini, confirmed that the election outcome is final and was not contested during the course of this week.
“The new SRC will commence office on November 1 2011. For now they are working behind the scenes,” said Mashinini.
Independent candidate Tiisetso Murray didn’t make it onto the SRC this year, despite a rigorous election campaign around campus and at the election circuses.
Murray said his main focus was to change the brush strokes that the PYA has painted Wits management with and to aim for discussion rather than outright strikes and calling people racists.
“No one likes being called a racist, so I think discussing issues with management would yield far better results than what has been done in the past,” Murray said.
The independent candidate encountered some problems during election week. “I put posters up around campus but many of them were taken down and I don’t know why or who did that. I went from having 30 posters to only 3 on East Campus alone.
“I placed some of my posters around where my oppositions had placed theirs, but only mine were taken down.
“I also think the circuses were not well located although they were very well run. Why was the West Campus circus placed outside the library as opposed to outside the FNB building, where there is a lot of student traffic, or the Amphitheatre, a place where students traditionally hang out?”
Murray also said Vuvuzela was not doing enough to raise awareness during elections as a campus newspaper.
“The Vuvuzela should have helped in getting candidates out there to tackle voter apathy,” added Murray.
The last PYA-lead SRC has been accused of not being fully representative of Wits students and focusing more on the needs of students who are either on financial aid, living at residences, or those who suffered the chop by Wits’ edge through exclusion .
Securing ATMs on campuses that have none, looking into internet access in lecture rooms and finding ways to assist students who travel far each day, are some of the issues the new SRC plans to make a priority, according to Matlala.
The final voter count for this year’s SRC elections totalled a mere 4871, meaning just over 16% of Witsies took to the poll.
“A lot of the students complained this past SRC was not visible to students and that is an issue we plan to tackle by including more students in the processes within the SRC, so that we can be more relevant and encourage more voter participation next year,” said Matlala.
Mashinini will meet the 2011/2012 SRC to discuss portfolio allocations today.