The South African Students Congress notes and welcomes the SRC Elections results at Wits with great concern.
The dawn of the 4th industrial revolution results to the casting away of tradition that has been enshrined in us, the traditional way of electioneering, campaign and gaining relevance amongst people. It forces the eviction of dogmatic approach to campaigning and groundwork, but what becomes more pivotal is that with the socio-economic set up of our state, it marginalized those that do not have means and becomes more inclusive for those that already have access and the elite few.
As a means of the substantial contribution of the above mentioned; the assertion made by the Witwatersrand university management was that the said institution would have an increase in the voter turn out on the assumption that it would mean more access, but it leads to a decline whereby they didn’t reach a threshold. These in itself is an indication of the fact that as African states we are not well equipped for online voting and other mechanisms that are aligned with the 4th industrial revolution.
With the above said, as SASCO, regardless of the SRC results in institutions of higher learning that used online voting or seem to want to have invested in such a system we need to generate strategies that will assist in combating such a liberal approach to democracy. We need to invest in how we approach such elections, how we convert the disgruntled, apolitical and those that opt to stay out but more importantly we need to highlight the role that SASCO plays in the upcoming industrial revolution.
As the AU has planned on vision 2030, we see it as very liberal and disrespectful for such institutions to blatantly disregard what leaders of the continent have set out as a mandate, but more importantly such a liberal approach is an indication that imperialistic agendas exist as some of these institutions have encountered minor SASCO defeats until the dawn of online voting.
A further substantiation such institutions are some that were formerly and currently predominated by white people, that have vehemently rejected transformations and have white management, it goes to show that we are fighting a losing battle if we don’t retract, regroup and re-strategize our approach on combating the unknown we encounter now.
It is important to acknowledge the problems exist in every branch, the diagnosis with the Witwatersrand is one that should be a discussion, entering the terrain of online voting means the general membership of SASCO and sympathizers are not enough, it is important to regroup and restrategize along the lines of tackling online voting.
Furthermore, the strategy employed by management to only allow being on a specific network to access the voting is reactionary and marginalizes particular voters. That should be the initial fight we embark on, to enable inclusivity in this system and make sure that voting is accessible to everyone.
The second form is the campaigning and the format we use, we need as SASCO and other members of the PYA components to offer sufficient support in every way possible. It is important to offer the correct budget allocation in electioneering. The need to rebrand and rediscover ourselves and furthermore make SASCO fashionable to students.
In hindsight what we also need to ensure is the prospect of branch unity, the unity that has held structures intact seems to be fading based on the current political scenario, the need to forge unity internal to SASCO and furthermore ensure that the unity exists along all PYA components.
With the above context set and factual grounds set out, we would like to with great regret announce the defeat of PYA in Witwatersrand in SRC elections which saw us only attaining 3 portfolios out of 15, the defeat comes after 8 years of the PYA being a hegemonic movement within the institution. The loss serves as a clarion call from students for the PYA to retreat, regroup and realign itself to remain relevant to students.
Defeat is the greatest learning curve and a real test of a cadre, in such trying times we require comrades to remain resolute and stay strong.
Issued by on behalf of the NEC by: