On 26 September, the Department of Education Innovations sent an email stating that the Independent Monitoring Body (IMB) attended to all complaints and objections related to the 2023 SRC elections and that the elections were “free and fair”. Less than 24 hours later, another email followed, announcing the suspension of these results pending the outcome of disciplinary hearings.
The released election results differed significantly from the initial preliminary results released on 9 September, in which the candidates running under the EFF banner took eight seats. In the official results of 26 September, none of
the EFF candidates were listed and candidates with the second most votes were declared as the elected SRC officials. According to the email suspending the election results, eight candidates were referred to a disciplinary process for alleged contravention of the election rules.
According to the university’s statement, “final results can only be released after the proper processes have been followed and then final allocation of the portfolios will be made”.
Following the release of the now-suspended election results, a group of EFF supporters marched to UP and barricaded certain roads while lighting fires at some of the entrances. UP responded by locking the Prospect gate entrance, among others. UP security circulated an email to all staff and students where they “strongly condemn any form of violence and intimidation” and stated that after looking at video footage, it has been established that “the perpetrators are not University of Pretoria students”. A video has also been circulating on social media where the EFF supporters can be seen blocking turnstiles and saying, “only black students to enter”.
In a statement, the DA Students’ Organisation federal leader, Liam Jacobs, condemned the actions of the EFF, calling for “urgent action by law enforcement authorities”. Afriforum Jeug,who initially laid a complaint against the EFF regarding the elections, has called for action to be taken against the EFFSC. On 28 September, Jacobs laid an official complaint against the EFF, EFFSC, and the regional chairperson, Obakeng Ramabodu, at the SA Human Rights Commission. This complaint called for the “[deregistration] of the EFF as a party for human rights violations”, and for “[compensation] and trauma counselling for victims”. “The university management must intervene and deregister the EFF Student Command as a student society,” said René van der Vyver, Afriforum Youth spokesperson.
“Our campus security team is actively collaborating with the police to address these concerns and maintain a secure environment for everyone,” read the email from UP management.
The EFFSC stated on their social media that the “University of Pretoria has undermined democracy and has appointed their preferred candidates despite complaints of them having contravened the same rules the EFFSC UP
candidates are alleged to have contravened”. According to the EFFSC, they will approach the courts to “defend the democratic choice of the students”.
This is a developing story.