Durban – The Durban University of Technology (DUT) held its annual SRC elections between September 5 and 7, but because of disruptions during the counting of votes, the votes already counted were nullified.

DUT will rerun the Students Representative Council (SRC) elections from Monday until Wednesday. However, student leaders expressed concern that the elections would not be fair.

The election rerun comes after the disruptions of the counting of votes a week ago, allegedly by members of the ANC Youth League.

Two ANC rival student bodies, the South African Students Congress (Sasco) and the ANCYL yesterday said they were concerned that students were not given enough time to prepare for the elections as they were only notified on Friday about the decision to rerun it.

The elections would take place while three ANCYL members who were also SRC members remain suspended.

The three students – Sihle Biyase, Mbuso Sithole and Vela Bawana – were suspended last week for causing chaos when they mobilised a group of students to protest about unpaid meal allowances.

Biyase said their suspension would disadvantage the ANCYL in the elections as the suspended leaders were not allowed to enter campus.

“How are we supposed to campaign for the elections when we are suspended and not allowed on campus?

“As the current leaders, the students are familiar with us and that would have helped to campaign for the people we have chosen to contest in this year’s elections,” said Biyase.

He said their proposal to the electoral committee – which was to postpone the elections for a month to allow students time to focus on the upcoming tests; for the party leaders to catch up on their studies after the previous election campaigns; and to allow them to engage with students in campaigns – was rejected.

Sphephelo Mthembu, Sasco chairperson, said the elections would not be fair since this week was test week and a lot of students would be focused more on writing and studying for these tests rather than focusing on the elections.

He said another concern was that graduations were taking place this week and he believed that some students would not have a chance to vote.

“We did not have the time to properly consult the students about the new election because it was short notice.

“We only had the weekend to let the students know. We went around student residences over the weekend campaigning, but it was not enough. We were basically unable to reach all the students,” said Mthembu.

Sasco, which apparently had a better chance of winning the elections, according to the number of votes that were already counted before the counting was disrupted, said it was still confident of winning but was concerned they would not do as well as they expected.

The university did not respond to requests for comment by the time of publication.

– Daily News

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