UniZulu elections not ‘free and fair’

2012-10-02 00:00

THE University of Zululand has declared that last week’s disrupted student elections were not “free and fair”.

The student representative council (SRC) election was disrupted last Thursday when students belonging to the National Freedom Party-aligned National Students’ Movement (Nasmo) claimed the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had committed vote fraud.

Chaos ensued as ballot boxes were upturned, papers were strewn across the floor and IEC officials were allegedly assaulted.

Advocate Dumisani Nxumalo, CEO of the election committee at the university, said the university had asked the SA Police Service, campus security, university management and the IEC, among others, to submit comprehensive reports because the election had been “violently disrupted”.

In a statement yesterday, the university said it would set a new election date in the 2012/13 academic year.

It declared that it had banned further campaigning, especially “visits of external representatives from political parties”.

“An investigation will be conducted with a view to identifying and charging people involved in the disruption and violence,” said the statement.

The SAPS said the university had opened a criminal case of malicious damage to property with the Mtunzini police, while Nasmo had brought a case of fraud against IEC officials.

Student politics have traditionally been volatile at the university, which boasts a number of alumni holding senior government positions, including the Minister of Correctional Services, Sbu Ndebele.

UniZulu was without an SRC for a year after violence erupted during the 2009 elections.

In April 2009, disgraced police commissioner Bheki Cele, who was the provincial MEC for safety and security at the time, called the university a “war zone” after violence broke out between the ANC-aligned South African Students’ Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party-aligned South African Democratic Student Movement.

During the violence students were pushed out of three-storey buildings, shots were fired, students were stabbed and a dozen students were admitted to hospital.

— Witness Reporter.

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