DA students cry foul

2013-10-17 00:00

THE Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (Daso) is pinning its hopes on yesterday’s postponed UKZN student election giving them a second chance to campaign for student votes at the Howard College campus.

But the university, while not disclosing the reasons for postponing the elections that were scheduled for yesterday and today, says that Daso will not be allowed to campaign.

The university said Daso had failed to submit documents to be recognised as an official student body at the campus and had forfeited their right to campaign.

The DA-aligned organisation has since petitioned the Public Protector, Human Rights Commission, vice- chancellor William Makgoba and newly the appointed university ombudsman, retired judge Zak Jacoob.

It has also accused the university of being complicit in its “banning”.

Executive director for student services Sibusiso Chalufu on Tuesday cited a number of unresolved “issues” brought to his office in connection with voting for the campus student representative council (SRC).

“It had become necessary to postpone the elections in order to, inter alia, ensure a free, fair and just process,” Chalufu said in a memorandum that was issued on Tuesday.

Yesterday, the university would not say what the “unresolved” issues were.

Daso welcomed the postponement, saying UKZN could not be a truly democratic institution until it was allowed to contest the elections.

“Diversity is the cornerstone of every democracy and it is a shame that in this day and age students are not given the freedom to support a political organisation of their choice,” Daso KZN spokesperson Hlanganani Gumbi said.

The elections were postponed amid Daso crying foul at being allegedly “banned” from contesting the elections after the SRC did not recognise it as an official student organisation.

The university’s Appeals Recognition Committee last week upheld the SRC decision.

Chalufu said the organisation could only contest SRC election at Edgewood campus.

“Daso will not be able to contest the upcoming SRC elections on the Howard College campus as it has failed to comply with the registration procedures which are necessary to be recognised as an official student organisation.”

He said the student organisation’s appeal was dismissed after it was unable to provide evidence that the necessary applications had been lodged.

SRC president Sandile Ngcobo said Daso had not submitted the necessary documents within the required time frame earlier this year.

“Had they done that, we would have recognised them as such.

“We would not want to prejudice them,” Ngcobo said.

He also said Daso members could contest the elections as independent candidates as they had done before pending their recognition.

But Gumbi insisted that they had submitted the documents for recognition on time and claimed the SRC submitted fraudulent documents at the appeals committee purporting to have been submitted by Daso.

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