Pretoria - University of Pretoria management have denounced assertions they disqualified some student representative council (SRC) election candidates due to pressure from “external sources”.
The Pretoria News recently reported that eight EFF Student Command (EFFSC) candidates vying for positions in the representative council were disqualified.
This happened after AfriForum Youth wrote a letter to the Independent Monitoring Board, chaired by independent lawyer Webber Wentzel, complaining that the red berets violated the SRC election rules.
The elections took place earlier this month, but the results have not been announced yet. The EFF has been accused of acts of intimidation, inciting violence, disrupting study sessions and fuelling racial tension.
In a statement the AfriForum Youth claimed that the EFF Student Command were disqualified after they garnered more than 2 000 signatures in a petition against Julius Malema’s charges.
However, director in the Department of Institutional Advancement Rikus Delport dismissed those assertions, saying the complaints from AfriForum Youth had not influenced the decision to disqualify the candidates.
“It’s essential to clarify that the candidates were not suspended, and the complaints from AfriForum Youth did not influence the decision to disqualify them.
“The disqualification of the candidates was independently determined by the Independent Monitoring Board based on violations of specific election regulations,” Delport said.
He conceded that various civil rights organisations and political parties had submitted complaints, which were duly considered by the Independent Monitoring Board.
“However, it’s important to emphasise that the Independent Monitoring Board’s decision was made independently, following a comprehensive investigation, and was not driven by external pressures,” he said.
Asked what the status of the SRC committee was, Delport said that the matter had been referred to the relevant university disciplinary authorities for further action, “aligning with established university regulations”.
He confirmed that the eight candidates were indeed disqualified, but said the SRC election results had not been announced yet.
“While the Independent Monitoring Board did recommend the disqualification of the eight SRC candidates due to campaign material violations, specifically unauthorised posters and failure to adhere to poster regulations, it’s important to note that the final announcement of the results has not yet been made by the chief electoral officer,” he said.
Delport reassured students that the university remained committed to upholding the principles of fairness, integrity, and democratic governance in all aspects of student representation.
“These measures are meticulously implemented to ensure that the election process remains free from bias and external influence, upholding the principles of a fair and credible electoral system within the university,” Delport said.