JOHANNESBURG, October 17- The South African Students Congress (SASCO) in Gauteng is demanding an investigation into the University of Johannesburg’s student representative council elections, claiming irregularities by management and its opposition, the Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command (EFFSC).
The SRC elections took place over three days last week across UJ’s four campuses. SASCO, an African National Congress (ANC) student wing, claimed ballot paper boxes were switched across campuses.
”We demand a full forensic investigation and a report into the SRC elections which took place at the institution in all four campuses. We have noted that during the counting, the elections were tampered with and as a law respecting the organisation, we submitted a dispute with the IEC [Independent Electoral Commission] and Student Affairs, yet to date, no response has been given,” SASCO said in a statement.
”The contents of the dispute emanates after observers realized that ballot papers which were kept at Brixton Police station of APK [Auckland Park Kingsway campus] and APB [Auckland Park Bunting campus] appeared during the counting at Soweto campus whereas ballots of UJ Soweto were kept at Kliptown police station.”
The organisation accused IEC of granting EFFSC president Peter Keetse ”full observer status” as he accompanied UJ vice chancellor Tshilidzi Marwala at a voting station, while a SASCO leader was barred from entering the station.
”This is concerning as the individual [Keetse] is not a registered student of the university and does not hold any official status within the institution. The concern emanates from a belief that he entered the station to influence voters,” said SASCO.
“In pictures circulating on social media, he is seen denying a student the right to privacy during an election, by overlooking them as they cast their vote, this is an infringement and we reprimand the IEC and vice chancellor for allowing this gross violation to happen.”
SASCO further called for the immediate suspension of UJ’s dean of students to allow the investigation to proceed ”without any conflict of interest”.
Earlier on Wednesday, the institution announced that provisional election results showed that the EFFSC won all 10 SRC positions at APK, Doornfontein and Soweto campuses. The final results will be released on Monday
The EFFSC has won elections at several campuses across the country, unseating the ANC-allied PYA (Progressive Youth Alliance). PYA is made up of SASCO, the Young Communist League and the ANC Youth League.
– African News Agency (ANA)