By Filipp Stoliarov
Following the abnormal Students Representative Council (SRC) voting from last year, largely due to the developments and disruptions surrounding the nation-wide protest action and university closure, this week saw the return of the standard SRC voting process.
The 2017 SRC election week extended from 9 October until 13 October 2017, with 11 stations centered around various campuses across UCT. Additionally, online voting facilities were made available through an online link provided on the SRC website and Facebook page, with a Vula SRC election tab offering the same function. Both physical and online voting required verification of credentials, namely a student number (with a password for the Vula/online voting). Although the voting process takes course over five working days, the election season began much earlier, with each student and political faction campaigning since September 2017. Starting with posters around campus indicating the main contenders running for each party, this campaign phase developed to each party’s preference with many events and incidents used to promote or criticize other factions.
During the controversy surrounding the Philosophy department’s test concession for a music concert, PASMA (Pan-Africanist Student Movement of Azania) staged a march and protest towards the Neville Alexander building, where singing and placing of posters took place to highlight the organisation’s dissatisfaction with that department – as well as using it to project some of their political agendas and promises. Similarly, DASO (Democratic Alliance Student Organisation) posted information on their Facebook page alleging irregular spending from the current SRC, involving student finances being spent on alcohol. During the voting week, representatives from the EFFSC (Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command) were also seen placing posters around encouraging people to vote.
These campaigns extended across a variety of mediums, with party interrogations and Q&A sessions being held from the 2 – 6 October in various residences in which any students or staff members could ask and debate with the respective party representatives on their agendas and how those agendas would be implemented. While there have been instances of inter-political conflict, the overarching participation and unity of all political and independent candidates reveals the SRC election week reflects the broader democratic project within South Africa. This year saw candidates from the EFF, DASO, PASMA, as well as 4 independents running for the SRC. This displayed a diversity of political and ideological options for UCT students to engage with in their democratically mandated expression.
On Sunday, 15 October, the provisional SRC 2018 results were published by the SRC on social media platforms. DASO party members make up the majority of the 15 winners, with 8 of their candidates being elected on to the council.