Varsity stops AfriForum coffee campaign

2013-04-26 16:30

The University of Pretoria (UP) halted an AfriForum Youth campaign to highlight issues around affirmative action, the youth organisation said.

“Dean of students professor Matete Madiba told us to pack up and leave,” said chairperson of AfriForum Youth at UP, Barend Taute.

The campaign was meant to take the form of a coffee shop, where white students would pay R5 for a cup of coffee, coloured and Indians R3, and blacks R1.

Taute said the campaign was being held to commemorate Freedom Day, and to draw attention to the impact of racial profiling.

“(Nineteen) years after South Africa was ostensibly freed from racial profiling, students at the UP are still admitted based on their race,” he said yesterday.

The campaign had intended to show “how inane racial bias has become”.

Taute questioned the university’s motive for halting the event.

“Why are they (UP) prohibiting students from driving a campaign for a nonracial society?”

UP spokesperson Nicolize Mulder said UP decided to intervene because the organisers had not obtained the required permission for the event.

Regulations also prohibited students from selling items on campus without prior authorisation.

“We reiterated that they are welcome to repeat the exercise if they applied for and were granted the necessary permission,” she said.

Earlier, Mulder said, in a statement, the university wanted to state that all South Africans with the requisite academic ability were welcome at UP.

“The university’s admission policy is very clear and is in line with the South African Constitution.”

She said the organisation had held a similar campaign using cupcakes in 2007.

“The university is disappointed that a civil rights organisation like AfriForum Youth uses Freedom Day to reduce complex issues impacting on South African society to simplistic publicity campaigns ... rather than seeking real solutions for topical issues.”

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