Former NWU rector 'cowardly, barbaric and racist' - open letter

2015-07-16 14:00
Dr. Theuns Eloff (Leanne Stander, Netwerk24)

Dr. Theuns Eloff (Leanne Stander, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - A group of North West University students and workers have penned an open letter to former vice chancellor Dr Theuns Eloff, calling his criticism of his successor Professor Dan Kgwadi racist.

"Dear Eloff, we are writing this letter in response to your cowardly public attack and reference to your barbaric statement that reduced Professor Dan Kgwadi to a 'professional disappointment'," the letter by the Pukke [Potchefstroom] Transformation Forum said.

"We note with grave dismay the anti-intellectual, anti-democratic and anti-black approach demonstrated by you as the former vice chancellor of North West University. Your statement is deceptive and symbolises an irrational white racism and academic efficacy."

Eloff could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday morning.

'Lost my judgement'

According to a Netwerk24 report at the weekend, Eloff had strong words for Kgwadi.

"Dan Kgwadi is the biggest professional disappointment of my life. It's bad to say that of your successor, but with Kgwadi I momentarily lost my judgement. I thought he was the best man to lead the North West University," Eloff was quoted as saying.

Eloff was responding to previous comments by Kgwadi that accused him of "hang-ups" and trying to control the future of the university.

"Kgwadi wanted me to stop mourning that I was no longer the vice chancellor. I have news for him. It's going good for me. All that's mourned around here is the university."

Kgwadi told News24 on Thursday he would not continue his disagreement with Eloff in the media.

"What I can say, it is a pity what he is up to. I am doing my best to run the university," he said.

"What I am interested in is taking the university forward... we are on target for that."

Failure to transform campus

The open letter claimed that under Eloff's leadership he failed "to transform Pukke campus as an integrated, multi-racial campus".

"What gives you sleepless nights is that Prof Kgwadi is truly building North West University without seeking guidance and mentorship from 'Die Baas' [the boss].

"We are not surprised that you and other white Afrikaner neo-colonialist academics are not in favour of Prof Kgwadi’s transformational agenda and plan to deracialise Pukke."

Last year Kgwadi instituted a forensic investigation into claims that Eloff was linked to a donation of R10m to a trust that was allegedly done without permission from the university's council.

The report from the forensic auditors allegedly said Eloff had no authority to donate the money.

Eloff reportedly said he wanted the forensic report to be made public, and Kgwadi told News24: "We will work on making it public".

The university came under fire early last year after it appeared as though student were performing a Nazi style "sieg heil" salute during an induction.

Read more on:    north west university  |  mahikeng  |  racism  |  education

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