Power contestations in student representative council elections : technicalities used to divert people's wishes

10 Oct 2019

Elections are one of the tools of democracy in relation to the establishment of the government of the people, by the people, for the people. Universities informed by the Higher Education act 101 of 1997, and various statues of universities, conduct Student Representative Council (SRC) elections annually or biannually for distance education such as University of South Africa (UNISA). It is by nature of the elections that the wishes of the electorates are the cutting stone to determine who leads. The SRC elections in South Africa Higher Education institutions remains a "hot potato" to swallow, and it is always a question how and why the situation makes democracy to decline. The paper accesses the strength and the application of the electoral procedures whether being able to respond to the challenges to uphold elections that are above board. The behaviour of student organisations are always hostile particularly if results or decisions are not favouring their student political movement. These intolerant behaviour compromises an environment of free and fair elections from the observation of how hostile is the situation in various universities during the SRC election period. The paper is presenting an opportunity to relook into the electoral systems; rule of law and compliance; political intolerance; voter apathy and democratic decline; Conflict and anarchy; objection procedure and fairness; voting systems; endorsement of results and acceptability. These concepts review literature through the empirical evidence of the annual or biannual SRC elections. The paper is diagnostic towards solution to the escalating challenges of SRC elections in universities as randomly observed. The paper intends to use the conclusion and provide basic steps to be taken in improving the challenges that surround student governance at the period of annual and biannual SRC elections.