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Unisa's Student Affairs Department celebrates successful elections of new SRC

Unisans recently gathered to ceremoniously honour the recently inaugurated National Student Representative Council (NSRC) members. These individuals were democratically elected by Unisa's students in 2023 to assume the responsibility of leadership and advocacy for the university's students.


From left: Mogau Malatjie, Prof Moloko Sepota and Advocate Porsche Makama

"We are gathered to celebrate not just a remarkable occasion but a milestone of the journey of our university's 2023 SRC election project," said Mogau Malatjie, Manager: Student Governance. Malatjie added that the celebration serves as a testament to the dedication, passion and hard work exhibited by all role players involved in the success of the elections.

He explained that the SRC elections are the cornerstone of the university's democratic processes, whereby students elect representatives who will advocate for their interests, agitate for their grievances, and strive to enhance their overall experience within the university.

The event aimed to celebrate election outcomes and everyone who worked to make them successful. "Together, we have demonstrated the power of unity, integrity, and dedication in shaping our students' futures. Let us continue in this manner, inspired by shared oneness towards the success of our students," Malatjie added.

Advocate Porsche Makama said the elected SRC members have been trusted and given the privilege and responsibility to lead over 300 000 students at the university. He added: "Students are the core stakeholders of the institution's business, without which there cannot be a university; therefore, your involvement is essential to promote their interest."

Makama continued: "You are entrusted with representing the students' views and influencing the university's strategic direction and decision-making processes. For this purpose, elections are held not only to fulfil governance and compliance requisites but primarily to affirm the aspiration of students regarding their preferred representatives."  

Makama emphasised the university's commitment to upholding the national constitution and the democratic values it enshrines. He said this includes equality, the rule of law, and regular elections. "That is why we hold SRC elections – to give students a say in their leadership and ensure that the leaders have a clear mandate towards underscoring their needs."


NSRC President Nkosinathi Mabilane

Acting Registrar Professor Moloko Sepota said that elections of any nature or size, regardless of the organisation, evoke emotions, commotions, and expectations. He reminded the audience that the existence of the SRC is proclaimed and contained in the Higher Education Act and that the SRC's participation in the university's decision-making bodies is part of institutional statutes. Furthermore, he explained that by casting their ballots, students affirm their commitment to democracy, ensuring their concerns are heard and addressed by dedicated representatives accountable to their constituents. Throughout the programme, Sepota continuously and excitedly congratulated the new SRC members and reminded them of their monumental tasks ahead.

SRC will prioritise student needs

NSRC President Nkosinathi Mabilane stated that elections serve to educate students on the importance of voting and participation, creating an active and responsible citizenry. He continued: "We appreciate the work that Indepenent Electoral Commision (IEC) has done to ensure that students can successfully participate in the election process."

Mabilane further lamented voter apathy among young people in the county. He elaborated: "Many young people feel apathy towards voting due to a litany of socio-economic issues; the status quo makes them feel that their votes are not going to make any difference."

He stressed: "In the university's space, elections are taken seriously. There is legislation that legitimises our existence as SRC. We have an essential role within the institution, including its governance structures and various sectors that we sit on to support the university's core business and ensure that students' needs as primary stakeholders are prioritised."

In his appreciation message, he said: "We appreciate the efforts of the previous SRC, which left us the baton to carry towards the university's future success." He added: "The new SRC will prioritise student needs and work tirelessly to ensure their voices are heard throughout their academic years within the university."


Members of the Independent Electoral Commission and Independent Electoral Tribunal who oversaw the 2023 SRC elections. Seated from left: Nomathemba Molokoane, Modiegi Ntsoane, Advocate Porsche Makama, Mavesana Sibanda, and Portia Ngcobo.
From Left: Cry Zitha, Dr Olwethu Sipuka, Siphiwe Ndlovu, Oupa Galane, Thembinkosi Mnguni and Advocate Nkosinathi Majozi.

The SRC serves as the democratic cornerstone of university campuses, empowering students to actively participate in shaping their academic environment and advocating for their needs. Through the electoral process, students exercise their fundamental right to choose leaders who will champion their interests, amplify their voices, and foster positive change within the university community.


*By Godfrey Madibane, Acting Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

**Photography by Shooheima Champion, Multimedia Centre

Publish date: 2024/03/20

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