Words by Sam van Heerden and Anima McBrown
The 2017 Student Representative Council have taken their seats as representatives of the student body after the annual inauguration ceremony held last Friday. After weeks of campaigning and the recent elections, which saw the highest voter turnout on record (41.18 % of the student population), Rolihlahla Mabaso has been elected as SRC President.
“Do not love the position and not the people,” said Professor Emmanuel Mfanafuthi Mgqwashu, advising the new leadership in his welcoming address: “One is not a leader because they have a position. True leadership begins with learning to lead oneself, learning to set boundaries, learning to honour your own words, making principled decisions, being content about oneself, and loving people.”
The election results were presented by the IEB Chairperson, Mrs. Desire Wicks, and impartial officer, Advocate Shuaib Rahim, who ensured that despite some mishaps, the elections were both free and fair.
“You are a group of strong individuals, but you have to work as a team. As an individual you may not always agree with the opinions of the collective, but you will never enact any change unless you can work together”, said Wicks, “Listen to your constituents, they want change, they want better.” Wicks also urged the new SRC to amend the SRC Constitution.
The results for SRC 2017 are as follows:
President: Rolihlala Mabaso
Vice President: Dingaan Booi
Secretary General: Onela Nongubo
Treasurer: Tafadzwa Nyamugafata
International Affairs Councillor: Graham Maruta
Oppidan Councillor: Venessa Bobotyana
Community Engagement: Ashley Zikhali
Media Councillor: Lee Lelethu Majikija
Student Benefits: Bamanye Saki
Environmental Councillor: TBA
Projects Manager: TBA
Activism and Transformation: TBA
Four newly elected SRC members resigned last week due to several controversies. These include Projects Manager, Matthew Vermaak, the environmental councillor, Stephen Dorbor Jr., and the Activism and Transformation councillor, Abongile James. Yolanda Dyantyi, who replaced Vermaak as Projects Manager following his resignation, has also resigned.
Following his inauguration, Mabaso thanked the student body for participating in these elections, adding “the hard work only starts now. I will put an end to the paternalistic relationship that the university has with its students. We will take our students seriously as thinkers, and bring the university forward.”
About our new SRC President
Mabaso, who will be the man at helm of the Student Representative Council next year, is no stranger to leadership. Mabaso has served his fellow students since 2014, starting as SRC Hall Representative for Lillian Ngoyi Hall. In 2015 he was elected Senior Student of Centenary House and has also served as SRC Residence Councillor in 2016.
The 21-year-old BA student is from Johannesburg; he attended Parktown’s Holy Family College. For what he wants to achieve in his tenure, Mabaso comments that: “My personal goal for the SRC is to ensure that my council members are united, for I believe in the power of collaboration. (I want) to instil that populism is not leadership”.
He acknowledges that there is a lot of work ahead if the SRC is going to be successful in “merging (the) interests of every member of the student body, and finding a common ground with management”.
He plans to deliver for a student body that can rely on “efficient service from their SRC”, anticipating that better communication will be the key.
As a “compassionate, emotional and humble person”, we trust that our new ‘number one’ will rise to the challenge, and lead a progressive student body.