ARTHUR HORN

In the aftermath of the disrupted SRC elections, Perdeby had a quiet cup of coffee with Leana Engelbrecht, chairperson of the IEC. The election, which had been her responsibility to organise, election did not go to completion due to the protest by the Student Front. Engelbrecht had decided to close the polling stations in the interest of student and election staff safety. She then refused to re-open the voting stations at the request of the university, for the same reasons.

After the foiled elections, the University entered into negotiations with certain interest groups, with the exclusion of several others. Specifically, the IEC, who organised the elections, have been kept out of the loop of the negotiations.

According to Engelbreght, the university’s internal monitoring body held a closed meeting to discuss the efficacy of the IEC, without allowing the IEC participation or observational status at these proceedings. Engelbrecht said that she was “disheartened that no regard was given to [them]”.

In terms of the Higher Education Act, an SRC is necessary for each academic year. Engelbrecht pointed out that each SRC need to be trained, which is why she feels there may not be a new properly functioning SRC until well into next year.

The IEC thus believes that an interim Student Assembly should be constituted from the candidates of uncontested faculties where the election was a  mere formality. This was due to limited applicantions, guaranteeing certain candidates automatic positions on the assembly. New elections would only need to be held for the other faculties.

Engelbrecht further said that the court interdict that was acquired by the university against the student organisations responsable for the disruptive behaviour on the election day should have been applied for earlier. Responding to rumours that the election would be disrupted, the IEC requested that the university apply for a court interdict against the members of the Student Front. This was ignored until after the election had already been disrupted.

There is reputed to be a multi-party congress forming a forum, the structure of which is unknown, that will decide the future of the SRC in conjunction with the university. Further rumors have reached the IEC that  a new election may be asked for, before exams.

Engelbrecht said that this was not feasible since the IEC members had planned their study years around an election that effectively wasted R170 000.

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