Reitz 4, victims to reconcile

2011-02-21 22:25

Bloemfontein - A two day reconciliation programme is planned for the "Reitz Four" students and the University of the Free State workers they humiliated in a video-taped initiation-type ceremony, the UFS announced on Monday.

UFS Rector Jonathan Jansen confirmed that an out of court settlement had been reached in the equality court matter the workers instituted against the former students and the UFS.

"There is now a settlement that was reached between the UFS, the four former students and the five workers," Jansen said.

The UFS and the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) would give more details on the "deed of settlement" on Friday, he said.

The students' legal representative Christo Dippenaar confirmed that an agreement had been reached, but could not elaborate.

The Equality Court charges relate to the students' humiliation of five black workers in an initiation-type ceremony which they filmed while living at the University's now-closed Reitz men's residence in 2007.

In papers filed at the court, the workers Emmah Koko, Rebecca Adams, Naomi Phororo, Mittah Ntlatseng and David Molete asked that the former students apologise to black women and black people in general and pay them R1m each.

Important announcements

Jansen said a private reconciliation dinner between the former students and the workers would take place on Thursday night.

"It is a very important event. It would be the first time the students and staff would be able to be together in one place."

After a private meeting there would be a broader dinner occasion which would involve families of the students and staff.

On Friday, the UFS and the SAHRC would host a seminar on reconciliation which would be followed by a "closed guest list" reconciliation ceremony.

Jansen said prominent South Africans would speak on social justice at the seminar.

At the evening ceremony, the students would read their statements of apology and the workers would respond with statements of acceptance and acknowledgement of the pleas of the students.

Jansen said after the ceremony various important announcements would follow.

The former students RC Malherbe, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and Danie Grobler were fined R20 000 each, or 12 months in jail, in July 2009 after pleading guilty to a charge of crimen injuria.

They were later granted leave to appeal their sentence. This appeal will be heard in June.

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