The controversial statements made by AfriForum’s SRC Presidential candidate might have cost her the position.
At the student parliament constituting meeting on 8 March an article was circulated containing controversial statements made by AfriForum Youth Secretary General Nikke Strydom. This came before she would stand for SRC President.
The article, “Inside South Africa’s last bastion of apartheid” published in The National, quotes Strydom saying things like: “I think apartheid was a good idea but they did it wrong” and “I think it’s not right to say, ‘Okay, you cannot come here’, but each culture must have a place to be where they want to be. I don’t think apartheid was as bad as they say, as they want to make it”.
Jordan Griffiths, DASO Chairperson, told Perdeby, “This article is what made many students align against AfriForum, it even caused some division in the AfriForum camp.”
Similarly Thabo Mdlalose, COPE@TUKS Deputy Chairperson, said, “The organisation [COPE@TUKS] changed its view of the proposed AfriForum leader after learning of the comments she made in an article in The National. We highly disagree with her views, and as COPE@TUKS couldn’t align ourselves with a potential presidential candidate with that line of thinking.”
Strydom told Perdeby that, “The article contains wilful and gross distortions of what I told the journalist. The discussion was focused on self-determination and steps that have been taken in the past by South Africa. I explained to the journalist that each cultural group may govern over themselves according to international laws. The old South African government used this as a reason to implement apartheid, but the steps that were taken to achieve this were obviously wrong and morally unjustifiable.”
Strydom continued to say that, “The fact that DASO seized this article opportunistically, and misused it without checking its validity with AfriForum Youth, is proof of the lack of integrity in DASO’s leadership [at] UP.”
Liza-Mari Coetzee, AfriForum Youth UP Chairperson, said that, “The reality is that AfriForum Youth received three times more votes than DASO and two times more than SASCO during the student council elections. DASO, therefore, misused the democratic decisions of the students to obtain the SRC President position.”
Strydom added that DASO used the article for personal gain. “It is obvious that DASO was scheming with other political parties long before [student parliament],” she said.
Mthokozisi Nkosi, SRC President, disputed such accusations saying that he only learned about the article the night before the student parliament meeting, and after reading it he informed other parliament members that he would not run for the SRC because his principles went against the things that Strydom said.
According to Nkosi, it is only after independent members had come to him, and asked him to run, that he decided to contest Strydom for the position of SRC President.
“The people decided that Nikke can’t run because she doesn’t represent the whole student community, and I agree with that,” said Nkosi.
“This was a matter of principle, there was no political fighting,” he said.