The Economic Freedom Fighters club and society (CSO) was banned after members of the CSO took the stage and disrupted the what was supposed to be a Student Representative Council (SRC) election debate. The election however continued after the CSO was banned but not many people agreed to the fairness of that decision.
When a fight broke out in the great hall after the Project W confronted the EFF for causing a disruption and effectively not allowing the SRC debate to happen, people were shocked that the situation became violent – shouting, shoving and fists being thrown around. And when seven students were suspended for their involvement, there was an of outcry from Witsies who noticed the unequal way disciplinary rules were being enforced by the university.
At the time the university took it a step further and banned the EFF from operating as a CSO and effectively pulling it from the elections. The ban was later lifted but the EFF were not allowed to participate in the elections. For students this limited their options and questions around the legitimacy of the elections was raised.
Dlamini who is studying a Post Graduate LLB said that “Democratic centralism and even democracy have failed, it has collapsed. It’s not fair because we have reduced participation. Even those who will be in office, they will be illegitimate.”
“I don’t think it’s right that they didn’t at least get like a fair chance. As much as they were kicked out there may have been a portion of Wits that wanted them there and that’s why they’re there, is to bring change. So they should’ve at least deserved a chance.” Said Enrico Pespizolo, a 2nd year, Architecture student.
Another student, Brittany Lawton said that, “I don’t think it’s fair because obviously they’re still a party that needs to be voted for and they still need to be part of elections but at the same time considering what they did maybe it was handled right.”
Many students disagreed with the way elections took place and CSO’s who didn’t necessarily support the EFF said that the whole process of campaigning and elections did not go well. A reflection of uneasy times at Wits University.