Accountability within the SRC questioned

Photo: Akinoluwa Oyedele

SRC election candidates squared off on campus radio debating one party rule, amongst other issues, just a week before students cast their votes.

Representatives from the incumbent Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) and two independent candidates participated in a live election debate on Voice of Wits’ current affairs show Breaking Ground on Wednesday night.

DASO said open debate is restricted if there are not multiple parties in the SRC.

SRC elections will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday (August 21 and 22), with the PYA’s 15 candidates hoping to create a single party council for the third year in a row.

In  minutes pinned on its notice board, the SRC lists as a concern “not being able to hold each other accountable on a proper platform”.

Erin Mc Luckie, DASO candidate, said the SRC would be more effective with management in solving students’ issues if it was more diverse.

“Currently, they are speaking about ‘PYA-led SRC’… it is easy to brush off one organisation,” she said.

Candidates in the debate pointed out the PYA is made up of diverse organisations, including the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) and the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) at Wits.

Earlier this month, the SRC negotiated for students who are neither able to afford the upfront registration fee nor qualify for financial aid, to be able to register for free for the first two weeks of term.

Despite this, Mc Luckie said there was “no doubt” the current SRC had done “good things” and independent candidate Welcome Lishivha said he gave credit where it was due.

The candidates also debated the SRC’s accessibility. Tiisetso Murray, an independent candidate, said the SRC’s “poor communication” prevented him from starting a club.

“It seems like the SRC forgot,” said Murray.

Pearl Pillay, PYA candidate, said the outgoing SRC, which had nearly 2000 followers on Twitter at the time of going to print, had been described as one of the best communicating councils students have had in years.

“If you tweet the SRC and you do not get a response in 10 minutes maximum, then either Vodacom or your network is down, or the SRC has crawled into some cave and I don’t see any caves at Wits,” she said.

Published in Wits Vuvuzela 20th edition, 17 August 2012

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