Timeline: the SRC campaign so far

On Friday the University of the Witswatersrand released a statement around the suspension of students and the exclusion of the Wits EFF society. This comes after a disruption that was initiated by the Wits EFF at the SRC debate which ended in a physical altercation between parties. It was the start of an unusual campaign season.

This year four parties registered to run for the 2016 SRC elections these included the Wits Economic Freedom Fighters, Project W, the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) and Democratic Alliance Students Organisation (DASO).


Cancelled SRC debate

Campaigning started off with a bang this year when the annual Student Representative Council (SRC) debate was cancelled after a fight broke out between parties.

Members of the Wits EFF filled the Great Hall stage dancing and chanting “No SRC!” The party continued to disrupt the proceedings of the debate.

The organisers, campus control head of investigations Michael Mahada, and campaign managers then went backstage for an emergency meeting. The group then came out and announced that the debate was cancelled. Chief electoral officer, Thembi Dlamini explained that the cancellation was based on a “collective decision”.


Circus Flop

Then more confusion hit at what was supposed to be the first campaigning circus for the year. Only the PYA and a few Wits EFF candidates arrived at the FNB building on Wednesday. According to PYA’s Twitter account, supporters were requested to meet at 1:20pm at the FNB building, for an official election circus. But on arrival it seemed that there was no organisation for the event and only a few PYA candidates handing out pamphlets.

A handful of PYA members were handing out pamphlets encouraging students to vote for their party. When asked, the candidates told those that gathered that they were waiting on the party’s officials and the Independent Electoral Committee (IEC), none of whom showed up. PYA representatives told Wits Vuvuzela that, “It seems as though only Project W were made aware of the postponement, because it was only the EFF and the PYA that prepared for today’s circus.”

What seemed at first, to be a defiance of the cancellation to those who knew about it turned into a simple misunderstanding and miscommunication on the part of the candidates and their parties.



The show goes on with circus at the Matrix

On Thursday the first organised and official campus circus was held at the Matrix on Wits East campus. Students were encouraged to question candidates on issues surrounding party mandates and burning topics related to the university. While at one point the EFF caused a bit of a disruption, all in all the circus went off with no major incidents.

Suspension of Wits EFF and students involved in debate disruption

On Friday the EFF were not at the second circus that was held at the Wits Medical campus. That evening at 6:30pm a statement was emailed to the Wits student body from the Council of the University of the Witwatersrand. The document gave comment on the decisions to suspend the Wits EFF as a society and said some of the students involved in the fighting at the Tuesday debate would be suspended.





Witsies go to ConCourt


CONSTITUTIONAL ART: Nolubabalo Memese explains the symbolism of the architecture to 2nd year constitutional law students on Tuesday. Photo: Raquel De Canha

CONSTITUTIONAL ART: Nolubabalo Memese explains the symbolism of the architecture to 2nd year constitutional law students on Tuesday. Photo: Raquel De Canha

Over 300 Wits Constitutional Law students got their first chance to visit the Constitutional Court last week, as part of a programme that gives the students exposure to South Africa’s highest court.

Students for Law and Social Justice in collaboration with the Wits Law School and the Conhill Education Project, put together the event for 320 second-year Wits Law students.

“Less than 5% of Constitutional Law students have ever actually been to Constitutional Hill,”  said Tristan Jones, a member of Students for Law and Social Justice. 

Claudia Oliveira, 3rd year LLB, is one of the many Law students who have not had the chance to go visit the iconic space, despite Constitution Hill being within walking distance of Wits’ main campus.

“I didn’t have anybody interested enough to go with,” Oliveira said.

“Less than 5% of Constitutional Law students have ever actually been to Constitutional Hill,”

“It is definitely something that I want to do. But it would have been so much easier and more educational to have gone with Wits when it was relevant and I was learning about it,” Oliveira said. 

 Jones said the aim of the event is to “ensure that all Constitutional Law students are able to experience the highest court in the land”.  

Constitution Hill in Braamfontein has a history dating back to the 1892 when the Old Fort was built under the Zuid Afrikaans Republiek functioning as a prison. Today the site is home to the Woman’s Gaol museum, Number Four museum and the Old Fort museum. 

These areas host exhibitions that advocate human rights.

During the tour, students got an in-depth look at the jails on Constitution Hill, a tour of the art collection in the main Court and were also taken into the courtroom itself. 

Students for Law and Social Justice is a South African students’ organisation which aims to protect human rights, encourage social justice and help make justice more accessible. The group was formed among students from various universities around the country.