Increase in racism, use of ‘K’ word at universities – SAHRC

2014-07-31 13:27

More than 500 racism-related cases have been reported to the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in the past year.

“These cases were not only in universities,” Lawrence Mushwana, chairperson of the commission’s hearings into transformation at universities in South Africa, said in Johannesburg today.

In the 2013/14 financial year, 45% of the SAHRC’s complaints were race-related and dealt with the right to equality.

Panel commissioner Lindiwe Mokate said black students were targeted in most of the cases.

“There had been an increase in the ‘K’ word where there is not sufficient respect for each other among students.”

She said there had been a spike in racism at higher learning institutions.

Mushwana said despite previous committees looking into racism, such cases continued.

In the most recent case, a black student was assaulted at the University of the Free State (UFS), allegedly by two white students. The matter is currently in court.

The commission had also been asked to probe a complaint about the drowning of first-year student Thabang Mokhoang in a campus swimming pool during an “orientation programme” at the North West University in January 2012.

Several cleaners were humiliated in a mock initiation ceremony at the UFS by four residents of the Reitz men’s hostel in 2008.

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