Poo-flinging UCT student says suspension is politically motivated

2015-05-11 21:30
Chumani Maxwele (Twitter)

Chumani Maxwele (Twitter)

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Johannesburg - Chumani Maxwele, the student who doused the Cecil John Rhodes statue in human faeces in protest, claims his suspension from the University of Cape Town (UCT) is politically motivated.

"It's a matter of politics," he told News24 on Monday.

"We [are] dealing with a political problem at UCT. We are dealing with transformation... [and] they are intimidating us."

Maxwele is part of the Rhodes Must Fall Movement which protested to have the Rhodes statue removed.

He accused the university of using administrative laws to deal with political problems.

The university has not confirmed that it is Maxwele who has been suspended.

UCT spokesperson Gerda Kruger said the institution regarded disciplinary matters as confidential and would not reveal names or details relating to the case.

On Thursday, the university confirmed in a statement that a student had been suspended and would face disciplinary charges following an incident that occurred in an academic department on May 1.

The student is alleged to have intimidated, harassed, threatened and racially abused a member of staff.

The student was summoned to appear before a disciplinary tribunal on Monday.

Kruger said a hearing in respect of the confirmation or variation of the suspension order against the student was scheduled for Wednesday.

Maxwele confirmed that he had attended the disciplinary tribunal on Monday, which was postponed to 14:00 on Wednesday.

He claims that a lecturer had called him a "savage" and laid a complaint of racism against the staff member.

In his complaint submission sent to UCT and seen by News24, Maxwele described his run in with the lecturer at the mathematics building as a "very traumatic incident".

In his statement, Maxwele explained that on May 1 he went to the mathematics building where he usually studied and he asked the lecturer if she would let him in.

‘Savage black student’

According to him, she told him the classrooms were locked because it was a public holiday and asked why he did not go to the library.

She then escorted him to the building to show him it was locked, Maxwele claimed in his statement.

"It was during my 'escort' that I asked her why the building was locked and she replied by telling me historical account of what happened to her in the past and that included her being attacked by a 'savage black student who turned out not to be a student' and that 'a head of department was murdered by a savage and barbaric black student'," he claimed.

"And she said that all these events created a not so safe environment in the university and more so in the department. I asked her how do these events have anything to do with me?  Out of the blue she became very angry with me and shouted 'If you are pushing me, I will ask you to leave the building now or I will call the security to take you out…'."

Maxwele said he was shocked by the statement and was upset that his rights as a student were being denied.

He claimed he told her he would not leave and she could call security if she liked.

"It was at this point that I felt very much criminalised and traumatised by her shouting and swearing at me. And the threat that security will be called for me so that I can be taken out was very painful for me.

"I felt that I was being policed and being framed as a suspect of criminality at my own university. I am very aware of framing of black man by the white world that black man is a criminal and dangerous to all other people in his immediate vicinity," Maxwele said in his complaint.

Maxwele gave his full account in the seven point complaint.

He said he received a suspension order on Thursday which prohibited him from attending lectures or participating in university activities, and the provisional suspension order issued without any reasons given.

"The manner in which the complaint against me has been handled shows racial bias in that it is different to the manner in which my complaint of racial harassment lodged with the university sometime last year.

"My complaint has not been dealt with to date when the complaint against me has been handled with haste and decisiveness," he claimed.

Read more on:    uct  |  cecil john rhodes  |  cape town  |  monuments debate

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