EFF Student Command withdraws from Wits SRC elections

EFF Student Command withdraws from Wits SRC elections

Johannesburg - The EFF Student Command (EFFSC) on Wednesday withdrew from the 2019/2020 Student Representative Council (SRC) elections after saying the entire process was bogus and merely the university’s ploy. 

Polling has been set for two days - Wednesday and Thursday. The results will be announced on Friday.

Those who will now contest the elections are the Progressive Youth Alliance  (which includes the ANCYL, Young Communist League (YCL),South African Students Congress  (Sasco), and the Muslim Students Association) and the Democratic Alliance of Students Organisation. 

Wits campus was extremely quiet and one could not even tell that it was election season as the students were voting via an online portal. 

EFFSC secretary Phumzile Mathibela said the organisation had come to the conclusion that the only way to establish legitimate student leadership at the campus was through a campaign to call for the Constitutional restructuring of the SRC.

“We have come to realise that the SRC is no more than a bogus council set up by management in order to have a false sense of transparency and accountability to students, when in actual fact the SRC has a very little scope of operation.” 

She also said that the SRC could not send out a communique to the student population without their emails being heavily edited if not completely rejected by the office of the Registrar. 

“This is why the SRC prefers to send communication on social media because of the suppression and powerlessness the SRC faces in its current form.”

She said most of the promises made by the deputy vice chancellor at the time, Prof Tawana Kupe, were not fruitful. 

“Kupe made daring commitments to the SRC on how R5 million would be allocated towards the renovation of a building in Braamfontein that would be able to accommodate 350 students who can’t afford to pay for their accommodation and would be operational in early 2019.

“That building ... has remained a rumour, and despite our best efforts to coerce the current SRC to pursue this fight, the database of students who cannot find accommodation at Wits still remains well within the thousands,” Mathibela said.

However, Sasco chairperson Cebolenkosi Khumalo said during the leadership of the EFFSC in 2018, the ruling party at the time failed the institution after promising a shutdown, should their needs not be met. This however did not happen. 

“Since January this year, we fought for students with debt of R25 000 - R100 000 to be allowed to register. We are talking about people who pass and about 3,000 from all faculties have been successful in doing so.

“At Southpoint, we have approximately 400 students who are staying for free as we have been able to raise funds for them through the 13% Wits Alumni billionaires. The government has given us R10 million.”

Despite being confident in the work they were doing at the university, he said a challenge was that the university was not allowing them to campaign or engage with students. 

“There will an independent observer from the university, three from all the parties and IEC as well to verify results." 

A  second-year student who asked not to be named said whatever the outcome was, nothing would change on campus. 

“Things would be better if students ruled jointly irrespective of their political parties. We are not united which causes problems, division and strife in the varsity.” 

African News Agency (ANA)