The first allegation made by Daso UP stated that the incorrect date on SRC meeting minutes dated 25 November 2015 was due to forgery, and that there was an obvious attempt to create an impression that the meeting took place in 2015 rather than 2016. Acknowledging the mistake in the meeting minutes, the SRC said that the meeting indeed took place in 2016, rejecting any notion of forgery. Addressing the matter, the Tribunal said that accuracy of meeting minutes was of great importance and that the SRC held a meeting on 16 May to confirm the error in the meeting minutes. Referring to case law, the Tribunal found the SRC not guilty of forgery but that the SRC, and SRC secretary Donovan du Plooy in particular, were negligent. The Tribunal went on to say that the testimonies of the SRC indicated a disregard for the importance of the accuracy of meeting minutes, indicating a lack of appreciation for accuracy and the responsibility the SRC holds. The Tribunal ordered that the SRC compile a report detailing how they will ensure a greater degree of accountability and accuracy in their meeting minutes, which must be submitted to the Tribunal and Daso UP by the second day of the third quarter. Du Plooy, who was found guilty of negligence, was referred by the Tribunal to the DSA to make a determination as to the consequences of his negligence.
Another allegation stated that there was a failure by the SRC to publish documents relating to Student Forum and that this was in breach of the CSG. In particular, it was alleged that the SRC failed to publish all relevant documentation two weeks prior to Student Forum. The SRC responded to this allegation by saying that more could have been done in upholding this responsibility. The Tribunal found that the non-fulfillment of this responsibility by the SRC was in breach of section 15(3) of the CSG, which states that every student has the right to be timeously informed about the programme of the SRC and other Student Governance structures. On the matter, the Tribunal found the allegation to be true and made three separate orders. Firstly, the SRC must release a public apology to the student body on the non-fulfillment of their responsibilities on the matter. Secondly, the SRC must release a statement as to the steps it will take to ensure compliance with their responsibilities in future. Thirdly, the public apology and statement by the SRC must be placed on ClickUP, the SRC website, and on notice boards on all campuses within the first week of the third quarter and must remain posted for at least two weeks. The SRC member for marketing, media and communications Nobungcwele Mbem was ordered to ensure the fulfillment of the judgment in this allegation.
The last allegation stated that a meeting took place in which the SRC voted not to hold a re-election for the portfolio of SRC president and deputy-president, and that such a vote was unconstitutional. It was further alleged that the information of this meeting not being distributed to the student body was a further transgression of the CSG. The SRC confirmed that such a meeting took place but that it dealt with the timing of the elections and was in response to a request by former Vice-Principal of Student Affairs Prof. Themba Mosia. The Tribunal found that it could not be proven that such a vote had taken place. The Tribunal found that a submission was ultimately made by the SRC to Prof. Mosia, that the effect of the submission was not clear, and that at time of the submission the decision relating to the re-election had not been made. The Tribunal ultimately found that thus allegation was invalid. However, the Tribunal added that students had the right to access information relating to the SRC’s submission regarding the re-election. On this matter, the Tribunal found that once the Standing Committee of Council had made a decision, the SRC must disclose and publish information on the re-election, which information must remain on the relevant platforms for at least two weeks after the date of publication.
The Tribunal concluded by asking the DSA to ensure all orders given in the judgment are enforced. Parties to the proceedings have until the close of business on Friday 10 June to appeal or review the judgment.
According to the Daso UP representative in the proceedings, Kwena Moloto, Daso UP were surprised by the judgment, thanking the Tribunal for the many hours put into the case. “We, however, believe that this is a huge victory for the students of UP [and] Daso UP has reminded the SRC that they are accountable to students and not management.” Daso UP is still reviewing the Tribunal’s findings before it will make a decision on whether or not to appeal the judgment. According to the SRC representative in the proceedings, Michael Bongani Reinders, the SRC believes that both the process and judgment given were fair. Reinders added that the SRC does not intend to appeal the judgment.