Temporary Student Committee (TSC) and a timeline
The Constitution for Student Governance (CSG) describes the Temporary Student Committee as an interim structure put in place under extraordinary circumstances where the Council of the University believes the SRC to be incapable of undertaking its basic responsibilities as stipulated under Section 22 of the CSG. According to Section 33 (1)(c), an appointed TSC comprises “4 members of SRC and 8 members from other structures of student governance upon them meeting the eligibility requirements in section 24”. The TSC hence acts as an interim structure for student governance to attend to any urgent affairs of the SRC until a new SRC is elected.
TRC appointment in 2012 following 2011
A PDBY article published on 30 January 2012 documents that the 2012 SRC elections that took place in September 2011 were mired by “political mudslinging”. The Independent Monitoring Body (IMB) declared the elections as “free but not fair”, due to AfriForum’s distribution of pamphlets that had not been authorised by the Independent Electoral Committee (IEC). The SRC elections at that time followed a format where students were tasked with casting two votes, namely one vote for a political party or society, the second vote being for a member of a faculty house, who could only represent their respective faculty and not any political organisation. Thus, the contravention arose when the distribution of AfriForum’s pamphlets read “Vote for the AfriForum candidate in your faculty”, which publicly reinforced the political affiliation of the faculty candidates.
Following this, AfriForum lodged a court application against UP in November 2011, based on the claim that UP’s decision to formulate a re-election was unconstitutional and as a result of political pressure. Until the court proceedings were finalised, a Temporary Representative Committee (TRC) was appointed and was chaired by Mthokozisi Nkosi.
TSC appointment in 2013 during CSG
In 2013, during the period under which the CSG was being reviewed, a TSC was appointed at UP. This occurred due to the electoral model being reviewed. The TSC was initially chaired by Christopher Pappas, who resigned in March 2013. The TSC was then chaired by Jordan Griffiths, who formerly served as the deputy chairperson of the TSC.
TSC appointment in 2017 following FMF
2016 SRC elections at UP were disrupted owing to the unrest that stemmed from the Fees Must Fall (FMF) protests. As a result, a TSC was appointed, with Henrico Barnard elected as the chairperson.
Barnard explained to PDBY that the University management directly approached and appointed all the members of the TSC from students who are existing or were previous members of the SRC or other student governance structures. He explained that “Once the TSC was appointed, we [appointed TSC members] voted amongst ourselves for the various portfolios, including myself as Chairperson”. Barnard clarified that “The same strenuous requirements to stand for president of the SRC applied for the individuals availing themselves to be elected as TSC Chairperson”.
TSC Discussion in 2020
The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that UP SRC elections and campaigning for 2020/2021 could not be conducted in person as per the pre-COVID template. Discussions undertaken in an SRC meeting dated 5 August 2020, cite that “the Director of the Department of Student Affairs (DSA) phoned the SRC Transformation representative to ask for suggestions on the 2021 SRC elections”. The meeting minutes go on to articulate that the SRC RAG officer, Lebohang Masiteng stated that “[…] the university will most probably appoint a TSC”. The three options for 2021 SRC elections discussed by the then SRC at the said meeting comprised of term extensions until January or February 2021, online SRC elections and a TSC. Seven out of eleven SRC members at the meeting voted for a term extension. Despite such a discussion, an online campaigning platform was adapted to undertake UP’s first ever online SRC elections for the 2020/2021 term.
Dr Matete Madiba, Director: Student Affairs, confirmed with PDBY that there was no plan to initiate the formation of a TSC in 2020. The aforementioned SRC meeting minutes also cited Dr Madiba’s advice that students do not generally take a TSC seriously. Dr Madiba told PDBY that “a TSC does not have the same standing as the SRC, so the authority of the TSC is always questioned because it is a body that is not voted for, and it is temporary. It cannot even assume all the responsibilities of the SRC’’.