In section 24 of the Constitution for Student Governance (CSG), to be eligible for nomination as an SRC candidate, several requirements must be met. Section 24(1) lists five particular requirements, including that those candidates running for a position must be registered for a degree or diploma at UP and not have been found guilty of misconduct by a university disciplinary committee. Section 24(2) states that a candidate standing for the portfolio of SRC president or deputy president, in addition to meeting all the requirements listed in section 24(1)(i-v), must also have served on “a leadership body of a recognised student governance structure within the university prior to the SRC elections”. According to the IMB, the CSG clearly defines what constitutes such a structure.
The IMB and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is expected to monitor and preside over all electoral processes. The IMB further added that the requirements in section 24(2) (served on a leadership body) were not open to interpretation and that the IEC had failed to “rigorously check candidates’ nominations against the requirements in section 24(2)”.
In response to the finding that requirements were not met by certain SRC candidates, the Department of Student Affairs (DSA) stated that such findings referred to a narrow interpretation of the CSG. The DSA claims that interpretation of section 24 should also be read in conjunction with section 19 of the CSG, which states that the interpretation of the Student Bill of Rights must conform with the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.
The DSA also stated that the narrow interpretation of the provisions of section 24 are likely to create a “closed club” mentality of who qualifies to participate at certain levels of student leadership. The DSA further argued that it had consistently applied the broad approach to section 24 in the past and that these were the first elections where the interpretation had been contested. In this regard, the DSA made specific reference to several previous SRC candidates, including Enwee Human, appointed as the 2013 SRC president, Tymoon Mohammed-Altamash, appointed as the 2013 SRC deputy-president, and Luvuyo Menziwa, appointed as the 2014 SRC deputy-president. The DSA argued that if a narrow approach had been followed in interpreting the provisions of section 24, students who occupy positions in student growth platforms would be excluded.
Although Moloto acknowledged that according to the CSG he was not eligible to run for president, he expressed his unhappiness at the situation, stating that it had been two months since his nomination was approved and one month since he was provisionally announced as the 2016 SRC president. “The IEC and IMB both accepted my nomination, and this is what frustrates me,” said Moloto.
Moloto, who was appointed chairperson of Daso on 12 October, will be contesting in the re-election. “I would like to thank the people that voted for me in the [previous] SRC election, and I urge them to support me once more. I’m still committed to keeping my promises on cheaper food, Wi-Fi in all classes and residences, and dealing with the issue of study finances.”
Citing Regulation 3(2)(h), the IMB concluded its sitting by declaring the election for president and deputy-president null and void and has instructed the IEC to hold new elections for these portfolios. Nominations for these portfolios will be open to all interested students, a campaigning period will commence on 22 October, and the re-election will take place on 28 October. All candidates will be running for the position of SRC president, with the candidate who obtains the second highest number of votes filling the SRC deputy president position. Publication of the preliminary election results is set to take place on 29 October, with the declaration of the final SRC results to take place on 30 October. Voting stations will be open from 07:00-19:00 on all UP campuses, excluding LC de Villiers and GIBS.