With the election results still being withheld by UP management, tensions between student movements are rising.
AfriForum Youth claim that allegations of undemocratic campaigning levelled against them are untrue. National Chairperson of AfriForum, Charl Oberholzer, has expressed his dissatisfaction with the R80 000 fine imposed on AfriForum, R50 000 of which has since been suspended. Oberholzer blames the letter of complaint sent by SASCO to the IEC, IMB (Independent Monitoring Body) and UP management, for stalling the election process. AfriForum consider the complaint to be the result of ignorance and miscommunication. AfriForum maintain that they are innocent of any wrongdoing in their campaign process.
Tokologo Ngakane, Chairperson of SASCO, says that although SASCO did submit a complaint against AfriForum, the complaint was not entertained by the IMB, as it was submitted too late. “According to the student government constitution, all complaints regarding the election have to be in by 10pm that evening (on the day of the election),” says Ngakane. She thus claims, “The IEC are the ones who laid the complaint with the IMB. So in that court (the IMB hearing) it was IEC versus AfriForum, not SASCO versus AfriForum.”
In a letter sent to Perdeby and other student bodies, AfriForum maintain that the allegations against them stem from campaign material distributed during the election which was never approved by the IEC. They insist that this material never contravened a university election bylaw. However, a complaint was laid against them after the election regarding the use of this campaign material. The complaint was referred to the IMB, and AfriForum and UP settled the matter before the IMB could make a ruling out of court. AfriForum insist that while they admit they used unapproved material in the elections, there was no validity to the original claims made by the IEC that their material was unlawful. They maintain that the complaint brought against them was baseless and they only settled the matter with UP in order to ensure that the election results were released in a timely manner.
Tokologo Ngakane told Perdeby, “I think the university needs to stop dilly-dallying, they must come out with a decision and deal with it. The fact of the matter is that no one has brought all the societies together and said, look, this is what is going on. We are all dealing from speculation [sic]. Even the letter I wrote was, honestly, based on what we heard. It was not based on Prof. Speckman, for example, sitting us down and saying this is what happened, this is what the university is doing about it.” Ngakane further stated that none of the parties involved has received a letter or press release explaining situation. “Everyone has got their own idea of what is going on.” Ngakane maintains that if the election results are released before the matter has been fully dealt with, SASCO will not accept them.
Late last week, the university told Perdeby that, despite irregularities, the election process has been finalised. UP plans to release an official statement later this week.