CUT students cast votes for the new SRC office
Students at the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) hit the vibration mode this morning as they prepared themselves to cast votes in electing the new SRC office. Students came in numbers and patiently queued for their chance to vote for leaders whom they believe are committed to lead, will represent them well and bring change. While this is a norm to some students, for others, voting was a first-time experience and they needed guidance.
The Student Representative Council (SRC) is an important student body in all universities as it takes a leading role in many student activities and serves as a link between the students and the management of CUT. For some time, CUT has been among a few universities working with IEC to make use of its professional expertise in building confidence and credibility of the SRC elections. This partnership is premised on IEC’s vision to work with Institutions of Higher Learning in order to deepen the electoral democracy and civic education programmes. Elections are fully conducted by Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), an independent constitutional body that manages free and fair elections of legislative bodies and institutions through the participation of citizens, political parties, and civil society in deepening electoral democracy.
According to Mr China Kokoana, Manager: Governance & Student Life, Students’ Obligations in terms of The Higher Education Act (Act No. 101 Of 1997) stipulates that the establishment and composition, manner of election, term of office, functions and privileges of the students’ representative council of a public higher education institution must be determined by the institutional statute. “As part of observing protocol on dealing with external stakeholders, the DHET Directorate of Institutional Support and Sector Liaison through the departmental willingness to support will be part of our observation mission during this 2017 year’s SRC Elections. We have also extended invitation to some of our HE&T fraternity to be part of this mission and observe the fairness of our elections and have input for future improvement.”
Mr Kokoana also mentioned that he is proud of CUT students who respect, understand, and tolerate each other’s political differences. “Political tolerance has been a norm over the years at CUT as students walk their democratic path of hosting peaceful and fair elections. It is unfortunate that in other institutions the political contestation is so intense sometimes degenerating into sheer political intolerance eventually destabilising the normal running of the academia. But here at home, we are still lucky in our space not to experience such chaotic situation.” China also said his unit had several meetings with all parties to ensure that there is harmony and he is grateful to work collectively with the Campus Protection Services to ensure that the situation remains under control like in the past. Students at both campuses were excited and some
Students at both campuses were excited and some nervous as they are experiencing the situation for the first time. Asked about whom they think will win and what their expectations were, this is what they had to say:
Mr Montwedi Motaung, first year National Higher Certificate in Accounting from Bloemfontein: “I am excited about voting for the first time and I think I made the right choice. I will be satisfied if certain issues and procedures like registration and accommodation can change for the better. When I first got on campus, I struggled with registration and accommodation and that put a strain on my studies, and finances. There were times when I had to sleep at a tavern because I had nowhere else to go, I hope the upcoming SRC representatives will look into this matter and give it high priority attention.”
Mr Bongani “Black” Mkwai, SASCO Finance Officer SRC Candidate for 2017/18 at Welkom Campus: I am happy to be afforded this opportunity to choose leaders of my choice, whom I know are selfless and whom I am sure will serve and represent me well because what I have seen in the past is leaders who just got to power for fame an don’t have students’ interest at heart.”
Mr Thabang Mohokare and Tshego Dikgole, EFFSC members from Bloemfontein: “We believe that our organisation will bring change in the institution and therefore appeal to CUT student community to make an educated vote that will bring change on campus. One of the basic things we want to change is to get rid of the corruption that is taking place within the student governance. We also want to fast track the issues of NSFAS and ensure that students know their status before classes commence. We are also looking at the operational times of our university resources, which have restrictions and curfews, free movement of students on campus and all kinds of victimisation.”
Ms Nosicelo Mgeqane, first year IT student at Welkom Campus: “I am delighted to be part of this chance and experience. This is my first year casting a vote and I trust my decision and believe that my choice of the organisation will bring desired changes to students’ lives and serve us diligently and honestly.”
Mr Mzimkhulu Komaze, third year Office Management student at Welkom Campus: “I am thrilled to be afforded this opportunity. I have been here for three years now and I have seen different organisations come in and out of office. In my last two years, most students suffered because of the kind of leadership that they elected. I think this is the time to make the right choice, and elect the leadership that we will be proud of. Our wish to see change depends on us.”
Ms Stephany September, second year IT student from Bloemfontein: “I feel good and believe that my vote will count and make a difference. I am satisfied and have confidence in those I voted for, I pray that they will do the right things and lead us effectively. Personally, I want to be led by someone who will be able to solve students’ problems and most importantly, put an end to corruption on campus.”
The current institutional SRC president, Mr Thapelo Ngozo, said, “Students should vote for SASCO because of its consistency and the urge to deliver on promises and put students’ needs first. The current SRC representatives have brought new concepts and ways of assisting students. Currently, we have advocated for the installation of CCTV footage cameras, the biometrics systems and we have championed on issues of electronic books. In addition, we managed to register students with 27 points and more whom did not afford. During the financial academic exclusion on both semesters, 385 students were excluded and we managed to assist at least 316 of them. SASCO brought a lot of change and listened to our student cries.”
Affiliated organisations include South African Students Congress (SASCO), Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC), Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA) and Independent Candidates. The election campaigns started on 31 August and ended on 05 September; the voting started on 06 September and continued until the voting polling stations closed on Tuesday at 21:00 when counting began. The announcement of results will be on 08 September 2017.
1 and 2: Bloemfontein: Voting proceeded smoothly.
1 – Welkom Campus: Welkom Campus students queued patiently and waited their turn to cast their vote at Block C.
3 and 4: IEC staff members assisting students and providing guidance to first-time voters. Students were also nail inked as proof that they have voted.
2 – Welkom Campus: Patience Gumbe and her fellow SASCO friends after casting their votes at Welkom Campus.
4: Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof. Henk de Jager met with students to show moral support.
Uploaded: 07 September 2017