Reitz 4 to be served court papers

2010-07-06 20:55
Bloemfontein - The Equality Court in Bloemfontein is to serve papers on Wednesday on four former Free State University students who made a video in which five black workers were allegedly humiliated.

The SA Human Rights Commission's Free State head Mothusi Lepheane said on Tuesday the commission handed in its papers at the Free State High Court in Bloemfontein last Wednesday.

A High Court official said the papers were to be served on the men on Wednesday.

In a statement, the commission said it asked the Equality Court to grant the women punitive damages of R1m each.

The commission said the students should also be declared guilty of unfair discrimination, by making and distributing the video.

The four students - RC Malherbe, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and Danie Grobler - made a video of an initiation-type ceremony in 2007 while living at the university's now-closed Reitz men's residence.

The video was leaked to the media in February 2008.

Humiliated

In it the four women cleaners and a man are seen on their hands and knees eating food which had apparently been urinated into by a white student. It also showed the women drinking from bottles of beer, racing against each other, dancing and playing rugby.

On Tuesday, the Freedom Front Plus criticised Free State HRC's "unforgiving" attitude towards the students. FF Plus youth leader Jan van Niekerk said the commission had found the students guilty without a hearing.

"What is worrying is the fact that the HRC already decided who was guilty, without any input from the Reitz students."

Van Niekerk said various complaints made by the FF Plus at the HRC's local office had never been investigated or followed-up.

"The FF Plus leader in the Free State (Abrie Oosthuizen) on 2 October 2009, even complained to President Jacob Zuma, at the way the HRC handles its cases."

Van Niekerk said the R1m claimed from each of the students in the Equality Court matter showed a clear grudge against the students.

The students had already suffered a huge loss due to the "unjust" publicity and views expressed before their hearing, he said.

The four also faced charges of crimen injuria in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court. This matter was postponed to July 27 for trial.
- SAPA
Read more on:    ufs  |  ff plus  |  sahrc  |  bloemfontein  |  reitz  |  racism
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