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All systems go for crucial NMMU SRC elections

Sep 15, 2015
All systems go for crucial NMMU SRC elections

The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) has announced that it is all systems go for the institution's crucial Student Representative Council (SRC) elections, which are expected to take place on Wednesday.

The SRC elections, over the past few years, have been between two student bodies - the Democratic Alliance's Student Organisation (DASO) and the African National Congress (ANC) aligned South African Student Congress (SASCO).

After SASCO won the 2013 elections, securing 14 of the 21 SRC seats, DASO retook the governing body in the 2014 elections by taking 12 out of the 21 seats.

DASO first defeated SASCO, which had been in control of the NMMU SRC for eight years, in 2011.

In 2014, the Economic Freedom Fighters' NMMU Student Command (EFFSC) entered the fray for the first time and did not win a seat.

The EFF are hoping to make an impact in this year's elections and EFF national spokesperson, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, was on campus on Monday trying to win support for their student body at the university.

DASO will be hoping to make it a brace after a historic win in the SRC elections at the University of Fort Hare in May this year, while SASCO will hope to reverse DASO gains so far.

Elsewhere, SASCO has remained the popular student body at the Walter Sisulu University where neither DASO nor the EFFSC contestedat this year's elections. At Rhodes University, students have for years chosen to elect mostly apolitical leaders, and did it again this year.

According to the NMMU, last year, the voter turn-out increased to 30% from just over 22% in 2013.

The percentage of participation by about 25 000 students on four of NMMU’s five Nelson Mandela Bay campuses is expected to increase even more this year, said Deidre Potgieter, Acting Deputy Director: Student Governance and Development.

The NMMU’s George Campus will host its SRC election on a different date.

The university said that election briefing sessions, the booking of voting stations and a meeting of all stakeholders, including the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), were hosted several months ago to ensure NMMU is thoroughly prepared for this week’s elections.

According to Student Life and Events Officer Sandile Mpepo, the cut-off date for submissions of candidates was 12 August 2015. These candidates had to meet the academic performance criteria, and not have any pending disciplinary action against them.

The voting stations will be open from 08:00 to 19:00.

Ballot counting will be done on 16 and 17 September after the voting stations are closed. Preliminary results will be announced immediately the counting has been done. If no objections are received within 24 hours after the results announcement, the results will be certified.

Since, in effect, DASO, EFFSC and SASCO embody the ideals of their mother parties, the SRC elections are never just elections - but a microcosm of the broader political battles between the parties. With the DA determined to unseat the ANC in the Nelson Mandela Bay, the results from the NMMU SRC elections will be closesly watched by all as the 2016 Local Government Elections appear on the horizon.