TWO months before Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University students head for the polls to elect a new representative council, the DA- and ANC-aligned student movements have hit the campaign trail – with both claiming victories in delivering services.
The SA Students’ Congress (Sasco) – which lost last year’s election to the DA Students’ Organisation (Daso) – yesterday accused Daso of trying to score political points by claiming the recently upgraded shuttle service was its doing.
This came after SRC president Yusuf Cassim sent out an e-mail to all university students last month stating that the former Sasco-led SRC had "deceived and failed” them.
Former SRC president Hlumelo Ncopo (Sasco) said Cassim was claiming the expanded shuttle service as Daso’s victory, while Sasco had been instrumental in the groundwork leading up to its implementation.
"Daso is discrediting us and going around spreading lies to score political empathy by painting us as an organisation that lacks leadership,” he said.
"Their claim that the expanded shuttle service is their victory from ‘months of hard work’ is a blatant lie because we were the ones who started negotiations as far back as 2009 when the issue of a need for more residences arose.”
In the e-mail sent to students, Cassim warned them of the "lies” being spread to "score cheap political points” and said Sasco members had accused him of awarding the shuttle contract to Blunden.
"I was openly accused of ‘giving’ the shuttle tender to Blunden because they are my family and I sit on the NMMU tender committee,” he wrote. "I do not have a single family member or friend at Blunden and I have not attended a single tender committee meeting, but rather sent another SRC member in my place.”
Other victories the current and former council members are fighting over are the SRC bailout fund – R600000 to help settle outstanding student fees below R1500 – and the construction of additional residences.
Leading up to last year’s elections – where Daso was running for the first time – ANC and DA heavyweights formed part of the student organisations’ campaigns.