2020 SRC elections break records amidst pandemic

BY BRYNLEY VAN AARDT

Stellenbosch University (SU) Students Representative Council (SRC) elections have achieved new heights, according to ElectUS.  This will be the first time the SRC has gone completely digital.

“I think with remote learning and having everything online, the student body is more willing to engage with the SRC elections. This is largely because you can do it on your own terms, you can choose how and when you want to engage, and nothing is forced on you,” Lukhanyo Ngamlana, ElectUS public relations officer said.

To run for the SRC, the candidate must have leadership HEMIS, which is the same as residence HEMIS. According to Ngamlana this is to ensure that the candidate if elected to the office of the SRC doesn’t drop out due to academic pressures.

“Once nominations close, we allow for appeals from students who have not met the necessary HEMIS requirements to run appeals took place on the 11th of August. The appeal committee is made out of the dean of the student’s facility, election conveners & student governance,” Ngamlana added.

After the appeals were finalised, the training of the candidates took place, to prepare them for the caucus season, which started last week Thursday and will end on Friday, using Microsoft Teams as the platform for this event.

Due to the large number of candidates, caucus groups have had to be split in two to allow for time for each candidate to speak. Group A has their caucus first from 18:00-19:00 and B from 20:00-21:00 with topics ranging from Gender-Based Violence (GBV) to environmental initiatives and online learning.

“With the highest number of candidates and high engagement in caucuses, the SRC Election Committee is hoping this trend continues into the voting period too. If the number of SRC candidates is anything to go by as well as the caucus turn out, I think the student body is going to react positively to the completely digitised election campaign,” Ngamlana continued.

With last year’s caucus questions touching on how to promote student leadership, Lewis Mboko, current SRC Chairperson, says that the high number of students running is “great to see”.

“Students are standing up to represent other students. It is a moment of growth for the SRC who have worked to increase participation and I hope it will have a ripple effect in the future,” Mboko said.

Dr Choice Makhetha, SU Senior Director of Student Affairs, said this increase in participation is exciting and hopes that voter turnout will also be high, ensuring the legitimacy of the SRC elected.

“In the past year, I got a sense that more students want to be actively involved in all matters affecting the student community. Serving on SRC is that crucial platform of student governance which gives an opportunity to make a lasting impact, representing the needs and aspirations of other students on Senate and Council, among others,” Makhetha added.

Voting opened on Monday and can be accessed via this link while caucuses will be continuing this week, accessible on Microsoft Teams by this link. Voting closes at midnight on Friday and is open to all current SU students.

For more information on the candidates, a module has been made available for all SU students on SUNLearn. Students can self-enrol by following this link.

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