By Ashley Seymour
UCT’s Council voted in favour of confirming the 15 top polling candidates as UCT’s interim SRC on Thursday the 25th of May. This follows recommendations from Student Parliament, The Election Commission and the University Student Affairs Committee (USAC). On Thursday the 18th of May, Student Parliament held an ‘extraordinary sitting’ to discuss the motion to confirm the candidates.
Deputy Speaker, Marcus Gawronsky, convened the sitting of 53 representatives from across the student body. Representatives consisted of Residence House Committee Leaders and Society Chairs, amongst other student governance leaders. This was the first sitting of Student Parliament for 2017, as the induction of Council and SRC sub-structures had reportedly delayed the convocation process.
Representatives remained reserved, focusing on the agenda objectives. Students voted to confirm the new Student Parliament Convenor and Deputy Speaker, as well as confirming the New Standing Rules for Student Governance Court. The introduced legislation would create greater regulation of the SRC, to be held accountable by representatives of the student body, as well as holding student governance representatives to account.
Before the final agenda item, the vote to suggest the successful candidates as the interim SRC to council, Edwina Brooks, the Director of Student Development from the Department of Student Affairs, gave a report on the election procedure and the election commission’s recommendation to confirm the SRC. Despite missing the 25% Category A quorum requirements, Brooks testified that the election had been free and fair, and that students had been able to voice their democratic preferences.
Many representatives attested to their belief that the election poll of a 25% quorum was arbitrary determinant of legitimacy, in comparison to an 18% poll. Other concerns raised were of learning from this poor election turnout to curb student apathy in the future. Another was that the authority of Student Parliament was undermined by its lack of authority in confirming the Interim SRC. If Student Parliament recommends the SRC, this is considered by Council before a final decision on the Interim SRC is made.
To conclude the evening’s agenda, Student Parliament voted to recommend the confirmation of the Interim SRC to parliament. The final vote was 43 for, 9 against and no abstentions.
*writer is a member of student parliament