The elections for 2014’s Wits Student Representative Council (SRC), are but hours away. With over 50 people and organisations running for elections, students need to think carefully about whose picture they will put their ‘X’ next to.
The road to the polls
People clad in dark blue, yellow and light blue t-shirts have been knocking on doors and debating furiously the past few weeks as the election dates draw ever nearer.
The campaign trail has been upped a notch this year with the arrival newcomer ProjectW. They have collected over 3000 canned food items, handed out study guides earlier in the year and delivered couches to residences. Leaving egg on the faces of those who handed out t-shirts and lollipops.
ProjectW member, Jamie Mighti said that they were simply fulfilling students needs with the couches. “We deliver on the ground and will continue to do so beyond these elections”.
Pearl Pillay, member of opposition group PYA said that what ProjectW had done with the couches was very opportunistic and that they were simply trying to buy students’ votes. “Let them bring couches, we will bring leadership,” she added.
Mighti responded to these claims by saying that the PYA were then hypocrites because they handed out 5000 t-shirts to students, “what they didn’t consider is the fact that our couches will be around for years to provide comfort to students, while their t-shirts will be used to sleep in”. Mighti added that their opponents were merely trying to undermine them, even though they have failed to fulfil student needs for the past three years.
Whether or not these incentives are the way to student’s hearts will become evident after the polls have closed.
Many a promise has been made by those running for office. The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) has a history behind them to support their claims. Their campaign focused on past victories like the reduction of proposed registration fees last year for students in need.
This year the Democratic Alliance’s (Daso) youth wing was not the PYA’s biggest competitor. ProjectW made a lot of noise during the circuses on campus about what they can and will do if given the opportunity to lead the SRC next year. They have been embroiled in a lot of back and forth banter with the PYA on what the latter have failed to do while in office.
Amongst some of ProjectW’s promises they listed longer library hours, more textbooks and online lectures as vital goals on their agenda.
Daso put forward their 18 point manifesto which promised a bail-out fund for students who may lack funding for school related necessities during their year of study.
Totally lost in all the campaigning are the independent candidates. There are eight independents in total, none of whom have managed to make much of an impression in the hearts and minds of the electorate at large.
Pabalelo Selema, an independent candidate said that he was excited ahead of elections and that he felt prepared. “I did one on one sessions with students to campaign”. He added that the bigger organisations were at an advantage because they had bigger budgets with which to campaign. “I only got R5oo to campaign, I could barely afford to put up posters,” he said.
As students head to the polls tomorrow, one can only hope that they vote for the people and persons who will help to make Wits better and not be blinded by the momentary blue colouring in their mouths from the blue gobstoppers they were given.
- Wits Vuvuzela. SRC campaigns at a glance. August 23, 2013
- Wits Vuvuzela. SRC elections: One big circus. August 16, 2013