Durban - South African students are seeing red. That’s if the elections held at universities are anything to go by. The EFF Student Command (EFFSC) has won elections in three KwaZulu-Natal tertiary institutions.
The red berets defeated the ANC-aligned South African Students Congress (Sasco) at the Durban University of Technology, the University of Zululand and Mangosuthu University of Technology.
On Saturday night, votes were still being counted at University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Reacting to the victories, an elated EFF treasurer-general Leigh Mathys said the party would continue its winning streak.
Universities are holding student elections across the country.
Peter Keetse, president of the EFFSC, said the win was a warning shot for what was going to happen in 2019 national general elections. He said the youth were the influencers of the future, “therefore, this is an indication of what is to follow”.
“I always tell our leader Julius Malema to prepare for his inauguration ceremony for 2019, because the EFF will win the 2019 elections“.
In Gauteng, the party has set their sights on winning more seats at institutions of higher learning.
“The EFF is leading in most of the universities by 100%. We are leading at the Vaal University of Technology, Wits University, Unisa, and Sefako Makgatho. We are confident we will take these universities,” said Keetse.
He attributed the landslide victories to the need for change among university communities.
“It is at the time when young people are starting to see the need to be involved in politics, because before the formation of the EFF we had young people who were really not interested in politics, particularly voting.”
Political analyst Lukhona Mnguni said the EFFSC had taken an “enormous leap” by winning votes at KZN universities. He said it was difficult to woo voters in the province, which was predominantly ANC and IFP.
He cited the weak leadership of Sasco as one of the causes for students switching loyalties to the EFFSC.
“This shows you that where the ANC is weak there will always be parties ready to fill the vacuum. Sasco is weak and the EFF is already filling the vacuum,” he said.
Another analyst, Imraan Buccus, said the EFF’s populist rhetoric was a seductive one. However, it should be noted that voting turnout during SRC elections was not always great.
“But there is no doubt that the EFF has huge appeal in a context where the majority of young people live on the margins of society,” he said.
University of Johannesburg spokesperson Herman Esterhuizen would not speculate on the EFF’s electoral fortunes at the institution, saying it would await the actual outcome.
“It’s going to be difficult because we’re going into elections, as they’ll be taking place around the 10th of next month. We’ve got an interim student representative council comprising of various bodies.
“Various branches and political affiliations are campaigning at this stage, so we will have to see what the outcome is like. There is cam- paigning on our different campuses” said Esterhuizen.
Meanwhile in Cape Town, despite both the District Six and Bellville Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) campuses still needing to vote, the EFFSC claimed victory following voting at the Mowbray Campus on Thursday and Friday.
EFFSC District Six campus chairperson Songeze Phlindlela claimed the EFF had taken all nine positions, despite CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley saying all campuses needed to vote before any counting began.
Said Philindlela: “We agreed that we would count the votes as soon as the voting closed and there were members of both Sasco and the Pan Africanist Students Movement of Azania there with the EFF, and we have won. They are no longer going to be in control because they have been rigging these things and we were not going to accept that.”
UCT also held its SRC elections this week and will release the provisional results tomorrow, followed by the final results on Wednesday.
DA Students Organisation member Mthobisi Mngomezulu is the president of the SRC at UCT.
Stellenbosch University spokesperson Martin Viljoen said that SRC members stand for election in their individual capacity and not as representatives of a political party.
UWC is expected to hold its elections on October 9 and 10.