The University of Pretoria will begin the process of rewriting the Constitution for Student Governance this year. The constitution was adopted in 2010 and was in the process of its biennial review when the process was deemed invalid by the university. This was due to low levels of student participation together with the disputed Day House Constituency.
However, the university’s council did accept the amendments that were proposed in the review process. The decision to have a complete review of the constitution was contested by AfriForum Youth, who threatened the university with legal action. They stated that elections could be held as the majority of the electoral work had already been completed and that all that was left to be done was to appoint an electoral commission. National Chairperson of AfriForum Youth Charl Oberholzer stated that AfriForum felt the constitution was finalised in September 2012 and that this review is a result of SASCO and the ANCYL using their political connections to force the university to review the constitution.
The university refutes this statement and said that they are doing the review due to the fact that student governance has not been stable since the adoption of the new constitution in 2010. SASCO has welcomed the review and has stated previously that the constitution needs to be reviewed to represent the university body as a whole and not just the select few that live in residences and day houses.
The university has suggested that the review take place in the first semester of the year with the larger student body getting involved. They also suggest that elections happen late in the first semester or early in the second semester with the elected body starting their term early. However, this is yet to be discussed with all the bodies involved.
Illustration: Simon-Kai Garvie