Mthokozisi Nkosi was elected as the Student Representative Council (SRC) President last week Thursday at the University of Pretoria’s first 2012 student parliament meeting.
The position of SRC president was closely contested between AfriForum Youth’s Secretary General Nikke Strydom and Nkosi, DASO’s Deputy Chairperson. Both were given the opportunity to motivate why they deserve the position, and after severe questioning from parliamentary members, the votes were cast. Nkosi was elected as president with an eight vote victory over Strydom.
Nkosi’s triumph was unexpected because AfriForum holds the most seats in its constituency. According to Nkosi, “AfriForum thought they were going to thrash us.” He said that AfriForum had underestimated the possibility of his win because they felt his 2011 SRC portfolio had been insignificant.
Nkosi told Perdeby that he was very excited about the news, but that his excitement was mostly on behalf of UP students. “Now I can give all students equal opportunities,” he said.
The announcement of the SRC president was received positively by most of the UP societies. Thabo Mdlalose, Deputy Chairperson of COPE@Tuks, said that the results of the SRC elections were exactly what they wanted. Similarly, Sasco Chairperson, Tokologo Ngakane, said that this was a “victory for all students, both black and white.”
DASO Chairperson, Jordan Griffiths, also felt that the UP societies had drawn together under a common leader and said, “Tonight, we have seen transformation at the University of Pretoria, this transformation can be seen by the diversity of the members of the SRC and the various constituencies which are being represented on the student body.”
Tsatsi Chauke, PASMA Secretary General, was also pleased with the results. He said, “[The results] seem very fair and it is clear to me that the students of UP will be in good hands.” Francois Cloete, VF+ Chairperson, agreed and said, “I believe the people chosen tonight are here for the students to serve them [sic].”
Similar views were aired by Cyril Peterson of the Tuks Student Christian Fellowship (TSCF) who said that, “We (the TSCF) are delighted to see that for the very first time, after a long time, we have capable leaders who will represent the general spectrum of the student community at large and not only the views of a particular group.”
Liza-Mari Coetzee, AfriForum Youth UP Chairperson, told Perdeby: “AfriForum Youth UP is disappointed that the results of the student parliament elections came down to a conspiracy of political parties against a non-political organisation.” Despite the results of the evening Coetzee said, “AfriForum Youth will continue to work with the students of UP to serve student interests without promoting the agendas of political parties.” Director of Student Affairs, Dr Willem Jorissen, who oversaw the proceedings, said that he was thankful and satisfied with the process of the elections. He said, “I was really impressed with the respect and good co-operation that I received from the student observers. The general consensus and feedback after the meeting was a feeling of co-operative satisfaction over the election results. I look forward to working with Mr Nkosi and his team to take charge and bring the student parliament to [new] heights in the interest of student success.”
The night also saw the appointment of Gerbrand Lindique (independent) as Deputy President, Kleinbooi Legoabe (Sasco) as Secretary General and Tebogo Twala (COPE) as Treasurer General. For a full list of the 2012 SRC go to www.perdeby.co.za.
Photo: Eleanor Harding