The event was presided over by the Constitutional Tribunal, which is UP’s “judicial arm of student government”, as described by the institutions’ website. Mia Labuschagne, the Tribunal’s Chief Justice, chaired the event. The disruption stemmed from EFFSC-UP’s vocal refusal in recognising the current SRC. “We don’t recognise the SRC,” Mosibudi “Rassie” Rasethaba, a member for EFFSC-UP and 2015 SRC president, said, pressuring Labuschagne as the presiding officer to tell the floor the capacity in which Thabo Shingange, the acting president of the SRC, was to present the report. Labuschagne tried to assure the floor that Shingange would explain for himself.
As Shingange took to the podium amid cheers and song from Sasco members, EFFSC-UP called for Labuschagne to recognise a point of order from EFFSC-UP chairperson Amos “Amla” Monareng. However, she recognised a Sasco member first, which resulted in the two parties arguing on who should be addressed first. As the EFFSC-UP quietened down, some Sasco members called out that the EFFSC-UP should not be recognised. While Shingange persistently tried to address the floor, Monareng came down to the podium and switched off his microphone. Despite numerous pleas from Labuschagne for the floor to restore order, the situation was uncontainable. Some students resorted to leaving. As Monareng sat on the podium, his fellow party members argued with the Constitutional Tribunal and some members of the SRC. “If you responded to an SRC invitation and you do not recognise the SRC then you are welcome to leave,” Labuschagne shouted, as the noise level continued to rise. However, none of the disrupters left. Labuschagne then recognised Monareng’s point of order in the hopes of pacifying the situation. However, he did not respond. She then gave in to the EFFSC-UP’s initial request for her to explain the capacity in which Shingange would be addressing the students. However, before she began a Sasco member raised a point of order, claiming that students were all aware of the grounds on which Shingange was elected acting president of the SRC and called the students who wanted to know Shingange’s capacity “ignorant”.
Labuschagne briefly succeeded in capturing the floor’s attention and used it to propose three ways for the forum to move forward. The first method was to restore the meeting and to have the report read out. Her second suggestion was a platform where students could “personally” talk to the SRC in accordance with section 46 of the Constitution of Student Governance (CSG), which mentions the use of a mass meeting for an “open discussion of matters of pressing concern to the student body and/or for the SRC”. Labuschagne then referred to the CSG, which has binding procedures that do not allow the abandonment of reading the report or the engagements of questions that were not submitted prior to the event. She then spoke about the need for a member of the SRC to give the report, which led to some EFFSC-UP members vocally rejecting the SRC, which led to the instability of the floor once more. Amid continuous arguing, chanting and singing, Labuschagne managed to voice out the third option available, which was to proceed to students’ questions without the presentation of the report. No consensus could be reached at the forum and the floor, members of the SRC, and Constitutional Tribunal started to leave.
Tamryn Gorman, the Registrar of the Constitutional Tribunal, was in charge of recording the minutes. Minutes will be made available to all registered students on ClickUp in due course. However, students who wish to see the minutes at an earlier stage may contact the Constitutional Tribunal to obtain a copy.