The political system on this campus is a total failure. I’ve watched it closely over the last two years (a side-effect of being the editor of the campus newspaper) and nothing has been done to convince me that there is any merit in the system or the people who serve it.

Before I get accused of sweeping generalisations, there are people working within the system who truly do care and who do want to make a difference, but are so limited and marginalised by its bureaucracy and divisive nature, that they are lost voices amongst a chorus of ignorance.

Largely driven by party politics and student politicians serving a national agenda and personal ambition, the student governance on this campus is ineffectual and discordant, and more time is spent fighting the system, UP management and each other than on actually finding out what students need, or want, from their SRC.

The only way to remedy that is for students themselves to stand up and say, “Screw this, this isn’t helping us, we aren’t taking part in this crap,” and not vote in any more student elections.

I don’t like voter apathy. “My vote won’t make a difference anyway” is a lazy, ignorant attitude.

But despite this, I am going to urge each and every one of you not to vote in the next SRC election, whenever that may be. These elections, much like last year’s elections, have been dogged by controversy (see the front page); controversy that has gone from the absurd to the plain stupid.

If no one votes, the powers that be will have no choice but to change the process to one in which students feel empowered enough to participate; feel like they are actually getting something out of the services the SRC are meant to provide.

As it stands, less than 30% of students vote, and I’m fairly sure most of them only vote because they get a free fizz pop.

Students don’t know who their faculty candidates are, nor is there any clarity on what kind of policy platform a political party on campus is running from. All you know about any party or civil rights group is whatever lame slogan they’ve chosen for their campaign poster (AfriForum gets the award for lamest poster this year). Those students that vote therefore vote blind. Where is the sense in that?

Add to that the fact that the election process is constantly marred by chaos, in-fighting and accusations and that student governance is completely divorced from real students and their real needs, and I can’t help but conclude that the system has obviously gone very wrong.

Democracy at its best?


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