- Published on Monday, 26 September 2011 14:15
- Written by Olivia Wainwright & Pasqua Heard
On Monday 12 September, UCT launched its SRC campaign week. A total of 41 candidates ran for election, running either independently, as part of a student movement or representing a political party. The week included interrogations of candidates, question-and-answer sessions and personal campaigning.
Question-and-answer sessions were held every evening from 8.30pm to 10pm at five different residences. Both the satellite campuses and Upper Campus were scheduled to have one question-and-answer session during meridian from Tuesday to Friday.
The platforms candidates put forward ranged from the political, to the controversial, to the unusual. While one candidate was standing for an improvement to the health and hygiene of residences, another stood for the advancement of “the common ginger” on campus.
Some candidates campaigned in suits, while others dressed casually or wore T-shirts promoting their political party. Candidates made use of speeches and leafleting to advocate their cause; one even resorted to singing. Many candidates used social networking to spread their
Despite this campaigning, some students still felt uninformed. A second-year Humanities student said: “Most people are unsure of what the process entails. While the res students hear about campaigning, the day students are often left out.”
At the meridian interrogations, candidates were only given 30 seconds to campaign. Problems arose when candidates arrived late for the meridian sessions.
Kathleen Taylor, SRC vice-president internal and elections committee member, stated, “It’s difficult to work with an hour. While some candidates arrived at 12.45pm, others were not as punctual, and this is only unfair to those who arrive on time. However, I am impressed with the candidates sticking to the 30 second time limit as this usually is a major problem.”
The evening interrogations left more time for candidates to speak and voice their opinions, as well as answer questions from the audience and other candidates. Candidates were often faced with taunts from the crowds. At Thursday’s evening interrogations at Graça Machel Residence, a current member of the SRC in charge of running the interrogations said, “I am worried about this crowd. It seems you are only here for entertainment … please refrain from personal attacks.”
Taylor, however, argued that the heated debates between candidates and the reactions from the crowds often shows that students do care about the elections and the importance of the SRC.
The SRC elections commenced on Monday 19 September; ballot boxes were placed around UCT and students were also encouraged to make use of online voting facilities. Campaigning continued as candidates tried to persuade voters at the last minute.
However, some candidates were prevented from campaigning for the full election week due to their breaching the elections candidate code of conduct. A total of 27 candidates failed to declare their expenses to the SRC Elections Committee. The committee then prohibited the candidates from campaigning until they made their expenses known.