Politics in general can be an ugly game. In a country such as ours we often have to ask what the motivation of our politicians really are. History often repeats itself and some of the same political mismanagement that took place 30 odd years ago is again manifesting itself in parliament an municipalities today.
But, if you thought that outside politics ruffle feathers you haven’t seen anything until you experienced student politics. Tuks SRC elections has been nothing but controversial since I started at this newspaper in 2004. Why would it change now? And isn’t some sort of controversy healthy for a democratic society? The game of student politics has changed somewhat to fit that of a contemporary reality tv game show. Survivor and Weakest Link jumps to mind Last year saw a SRC election that was dragged out over a significant amount of time due to loopholes in the constitution and parties taking advantage of this, to a great cost for the university having to go to court. I’d like to take you back even further than this. With the election of the 2011 SRC, SASCO and PASMA were blindsided by AfriForum’s alliances with other parties in order to secure a majority on the SRC. This in turn resulted in a majority of SASCO and PASMA seats in Parliament. Move one year on and we get a reversal of roles. AfriForum received the biggest blindside of their lives when the DA formed alliances with other parties and effectively took away power from AfriForum. We can speculate on the reasoning for this but I must admit that I was shocked by the interview with Nikke Strydom on The National website. Perhaps this had something to do with it? The result however is a very diverse politically made up SRC and a dominance of AfriForum in Parliament. I can fully appreciate why AfriForum is sour. They went through an immense amount of trouble to get the election results released and now they sit without a representative in the top four positions of the SRC. Mr Katlego Malatji warned me in the week prior to the Parliament sitting for SRC election that there would be surprises. In its anger towards the alliances that cost AfriForum its SRC victory a pamphlet was distributed to explain to students why they didn’t secure a strong representation on the SRC. Although satire forms a very important platform for comment in our society, the pamphlet distributed by AfriForum might have triggered offense by some. In the end what they tried to do was start a discourse and they certainly achieved that, be it negative or positive. UP has a large number of students who are passionately involved in politics and student governance. The problem with student politics on campus however ultimately sits with the apathy of most students toward it. If you do not agree with me then simply go and have a look at the numbers in terms of students registered and students who voted in the last and previous elections. The proof of the success or failure of the alliance that gave AfriForum such a headache will lie in the efforts of the 2012 SRC. Every student on campus has a responsibility to hold their Student Council responsible for decisions being made. It is my personal belief that once you form part of the SRC, your political affiliations need to disappear and your main focus should be serving the student community and changing their apathetical perception of student governance. I don’t however feel that the distribution of a pamphlet such as this one will change the negative view of student politics, it might rather alienate people from a healthy debate.
Carel Willemse Editor-in-Chief @Ed_in_Chief