EFF takes Limpopo university SRC

Turfloop campus has always been the ANC's stronghold over the past years, but now the EFF has won the SRC elections. (Gallo)

Turfloop campus has always been the ANC's stronghold over the past years, but now the EFF has won the SRC elections. (Gallo)

Julius Malema’s Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has emerged victorious in the battle to dominate student politics by winning Student Representative Council (SRC) elections at the University of Limpopo’s Turfloop campus with an overwhelming majority.

The new kids on the block – EFF – defeated the ANC’s aligned Progressive Youth Alliance [PYA] – which consist of the ANC Youth League, the Young Communist League and the South African Students’ Congress (Sasco). The EFF won 10 seats, the PYA secured five seats and the Student Christian Organisation got 2 seats.

The PYA’s defeat will add salt to the ANC’s wound after the ruling party shed five-percentage point of its support during the general elections in May.

Turfloop campus has always been the ANC’s stronghold over the past years, as Sasco dominated student politics there. The university produced many senior leaders of the ANC, including deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, Gauteng Premier David Makhura, who was SRC president on Sasco ticket, former ANC treasurer Matthews Phosa and former ANCYL president Peter Mokaba.

Party is growing
Malema said the EFF’s victory at Turfloop was a clear indication that his party was growing in popularity among young people in Limpopo.

“This [EFF victory] must serve as a wake up call to the ANC.
Prior to the elections, many senior ANC leaders went to the campus to campaign for PYA, but the students have rejected them. This is a clear indication that the EFF is ready to take Limpopo. “We are ready to give the students free education,” said Malema. He said Turfloop university used to be the power base of the ANC, but not anymore.

“The university is not far from where Peter Mokaba is buried. It’s not far from Mokaba’s home. But with this rejection of the ANC, the people are saying we know the history of the party in Limpopo but we cant eat history,” said Malema.

He said the EFF would use its dominant position at the campus to fight for free education and improved conditions at hostels. “We gave the new SRC a clear instruction that there is no time to be a sweetheart to management. They must be on the side of the students. The SRC leaders must not become celebrities. They must fight for the rights of the students,” said Malema.

ANC centre ‘collapsing’
Political analyst Elvis Masoga said EFF’s victory over the PYA, was an indication that the ANC centre was collapsing. Masoga said the ANC’s mistake in Limpopo was to try and modernise its structures while abandoning its militancy.

“Malema’s ultra-militancy has historically been the embodiment of Sasco and Cosas [Congress of South African Students] slogans at institutions of higher learning. Many members of the ANC are identifying with his politics. There are still Malema loyalists in various ANC structures. The ANC expelled the leader, but not his loyalists. They failed to replace him with an ultra militant leader,” said Masoga.

ANC provincial spokesperson Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the ANC was not worried about the EFF’s growing popularity at the university. “Turfloop is not the only university [in Limpopo]. The university of Venda was won by the PYA,” said Ntshavheni. 

She claimed the EFF leaders who won SRC seats at Turfloop campus did not reach the qualification requirements to stand for elections. “The management of Turfloop collaborated with EFF to rig the elections. We know the management always wanted the EFF to win,” said Ntshavheni.



Matuma Letsoalo is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. He joined the newspaper in 2003, focussing on politics and labour, and collaborated with the M&G's centre for investigations, amaBhungane, from time to time.In 2011, Matuma won the South African Journalist of the Year Award and was also the winner in the investigative journalism category in the same year.In 2004, he won the CNN African Journalist of the Year prize – the MKO Abiola Print Journalism Award. Matuma was also a joint category winner of the Mondi Shanduka SA Story of the year Award in 2008. In 2013, he was a finalist for Wits University's Taco Kuiper Award. Read more from ML

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