On 2 October 2015, the IMB ruled that the elections were “substantially free and fair” but called for the re-election of the president and vice-president portfolio. However, the FeesMustFall protests soon escalated, resulting in the re-elections being postponed to 2016.
The Independent Electoral Commission supervises the electoral processes and is in charge of polling and counting the votes. Every registered UP student is eligible to vote. Any registered UP student is eligible to run for president as long as they meet certain criteria. In the case of undergraduate students, the UP website states that the candidate “must have completed three consecutive semesters at [UP], having enrolled for at least 80% of modules required for their qualification in those semesters, and have attained a [GPA] for the semester preceding the elections of 60%”. Postgraduate students, depending on whether they are pursuing a coursework-based degree or a research qualification, will have to have obtained a 60% average leading up to the election or submit written proof from their respective faculty confirming that they have made sufficient academic progress to graduate on time. Furthermore, candidates have to have demonstrated leadership abilities by having served on a recognised student government structure prior to elections. In addition, candidates must not have been found guilty of offences by a UP disciplinary committee.
Much has been said with regard to the dynamic of the current SRC and how the integration of the presidential portfolio will affect the group. Rasebopye said, “I believe the SRC has shown good intentions to make significant changes in their term and set in motion certain fundamentals that can bring about transformation in our institution. Looking at the presidential candidates, we will either have a president who will positively advance the progress the SRC [or one who] seeks to make, or negatively restrain it through non-transformative organisational mandates.” Barnard believes that the workforce of the SRC can be expanded by adding two more portfolios and believes that the role of the president will also be to “supply additional personal perspective and knowledge to the current team”.
So far the SRC has successfully raised R2lmillion in an effort to provide tuition fees for students who cannot afford them. “The current SRC has managed to achieve a lot without a president and deputy president. A dynamic has been created that has proved fruitful with them already raising R2 million in their #R10MillionGame [campaign]. The incoming president will need to be extremely humble for the current winning formula to continue to work. The president will need to learn to lead within the current dynamic rather than trying to rebuild an SRC that has come so far in the past 3 months,” Moloto pointed out.
Image: Carel Willemse