‘Peaceful’ council elections for SPU
THE THIRD Student Representative Council (SRC) of the Sol Plaatje University (SPU) was elected without incident yesterday afternoon, with the naming of the new president and committee scheduled to take place late last night.
This was in sharp contrast to the SRC elections 12 months ago when protest action, apparently in support of a zero percent increase in the cost of higher education, placed the process in jeopardy, with a group of demonstrators from the EFF Student Command bringing activity on campus to a standstill.
Yesterday’s voting saw a total of 26 candidates vying for 10 places on the 2017/18 SRC, with the results scheduled to be announced three hours after voting closed, at around 9pm, last night.
At lunchtime yesterday, SPU Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Yunus Ballim, said that the voting process had run smoothly and without incident.
“Campaigning started on Monday, September 18, and closed at 10am on Tuesday,” Ballim said. “Students campaigned vigorously and respectfully.
“There were no reported incidents of any improper campaigning by the candidates.”
For the first time in the university’s history, a “special vote” was requested in order to accommodate students who were not able to make their mark on election day.
“There was a group of students, from a single class, who expected to be away from Kimberley on study activities this week and were concerned that they would not be able to cast their votes,” Ballim explained. “We held a ‘special vote’ opportunity for them on Thursday.
“This ballot box was sealed in the presence of the candidates and has been held at the premises of the external auditor.”
The bulk of the votes were, however, cast throughout the day yesterday.
All registered students were eligible to vote while an election committee monitored the process, including the tallying up of the results, which was managed by an independent auditor.
“Candidates were allowed to be present as observers during the counting process,” added Ballim, saying that the winners would be announced last night, provided there were no objections lodged by any of the candidates.
Meanwhile, the current SRC president, Thato Kesekile, did not put his name forward for re-election and will conclude his term at the end of the month.
While voting was in full swing at the campus yesterday afternoon, Kesekile said that the process of finding his replacement appeared to be running smoothly and was unlikely to result in any conflict or animosity.
“There really isn’t too much to report,” he said. “It’s been very quiet and the students have not encountered any problems when making their mark.
“It’s been a very peaceful election so far.”