New UFS video ‘victims’ also punished
Pieter Steyn, Volksblad
Bloemfontein - The “victims” of the latest video to cause a storm at the University of the Free State (UFS) have been punished, along with the rest of the house committee of Villa Bravado, for their “participation” in the video in which they were initiated.
Theuns du Buisson, one of the four students who was initiated, told Volksblad exclusively on Wednesday that he, Wessel Wessels, Pieter Cockeran and Jonathan Bosman had, along with the rest of the committee, been given “a sentence” after the UFS became aware of the video earlier this year.
“The video was on Villa Bravado's Facebook page. Rudi Buys, dean of students, and Quintin Koetaan, director of accommodation, showed up at the residence one morning and asked us to remove the video from Facebook.
"They asked us to keep it inside the residence since they didn't want to cause controversy in the 'international media'."
Du Buisson said the primarius of the residence was suspended shortly thereafter and the disciplinary hearing of residence head Paseka Mokoena has begun.
“The whole house committee had to make official statements at campus police. Then we were told we had to do community service at a pre-primary school as punishment.”
The punishment was supposedly for the fact that no-one reported the initiation incident to the UFS management. He feels the punishment is “ridiculous”. He said that, until Volksblad released the video on Monday, the matter was never mentioned.
“The university was absolutely quiet. We didn't hear another thing until Monday afternoon.”
According to Du Buisson, Koetaan called a meeting with Villa Bravado's house committee and asked that all media enquiries be directed to the UFS spokesperson, Lacea Loader, “to protect themselves”.
Du Buission sympathises with Nthakeni. “He's really a nice guy who doesn't actually support initiation. The house (residence) expected it of him. We also wouldn't have felt a part of the residence if we hadn't gone through the initiation.”
He says they don't really feel humiliated. “We realise the video has nothing to do with the Reitz video, but we think both videos were unnecessarily blown out of proportion.”
Loader wouldn't give any comment on Wednesday. “Since the case is still in the process of a disciplinary hearing, it is sub judice and we can't comment.”
Meanwhile, the Villa-video was also removed from the YouTube website.
Julie Taylor, communication official of Google and YouTube, said in a statement that the removal of a video largely depends on the website's users.
According to the statement, their users flag videos they deem inappropriate. When this happens, the video is investigated by YouTube staff, and if it's found not to fall within YouTube guidelines, it's removed within minutes.
However, human rights' initiative AfriForum has made the video available on their website.
Mothusi Lepheane of the human rights' commission (HRC) in the Free State said on Wednesday they are aware of the Villa-video.
“But we haven't seen it and have not received a complaint about it. If we do see any human rights abuses in the video, we will act immediately, regardless of whether anyone submits a complaint or not.”