Reitz 4 want R1m to talk

2011-02-27 19:51
Johannesburg - The Reitz Four are truly sorry about humiliating five workers in a racist video and they are willing to talk about their experience – for a fee of R1m.

Last Friday night’s reconciliation ceremony at the Free State University campus took an unpleasant turn on Saturday when it was revealed that that was the amount the four former students wanted to pocket from speaking to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) about the event.

The bid came just 30 minutes before Roelof Malherbe, Schalk van der Merwe, Johnny Roberts and Danie Grobler stood on a podium and asked the workers for forgiveness.

The BBC asked the men’s lawyer, Christo Dippenaar, who attended the reconciliation function with them, for an interview with the four after the university banned interviews.

Dippenaar responded with a text message to the BBC’s correspondent in South Africa, Karen Allen, in which he demanded R1m for an exclusive interview.

The BBC refused.

Dippenaar said their negotiations with the BBC did not mean the men’s gesture on Friday night was not honest. “They have been through hell, mainly because of the media,” he said.


Friday night’s ceremony was hailed by the university and the SA Human Rights Commission (HRC) as a “historic” gesture “crucial to national reconciliation and social cohesion in the country”.

The university’s vice chancellor, Jonathan Jansen, denied that they “manufactured” reconciliation rather than allowing it to happen naturally.

At the ceremony the four former students read a statement of apology which was then accepted by the victims in a corresponding statement.

Sceptical workers, ordinary citizens and students from all race groups criticised the move as a “stage-managed” attempt at reconciliation and a further humiliation for the victims and the perpetrators.

Jansen said: “When Nelson Mandela started the process of reconciliation there were always those who asked these kinds of questions [about the honesty of the process].”

Jansen stressed that reconciliation at the university was a process, and said it was not possible for the institution’s 30 000 students and 2 000 staff to agree on everything.

“Are we there? No. Are we getting there? Yes,” he said.

Pregs Govender, deputy chairperson of the HRC, added: “This is not an event. It is a social process. What we have seen here is a significant step towards transformation.”

Commission chairperson Lawrence Mushwana said the saga was “difficult and heart-breaking” but “we crafted what ended up as a reconciliation agreement”.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    ufs  |  sahrc  |  bbc  |  jonathan jansen  |  bloemfontein  |  reitz publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

VIDEO: 5 scintillating RWC tries from the weekend
Meyer taking no chances
Butch happy with ‘best possible’ Bok side
Hooper slapped with one-match ban
Traffic Alerts

Are you burning the candle at both ends? Listen to your body and your emotional reactions. Know when to slow down or stop. It is more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.