FF+ Youth calls for UFS race probe

2010-08-03 21:37

Bloemfontein - The FF Plus Youth on Tuesday called for a probe into what it claimed was the University of the Free State's unequal treatment of black and white students.

"The FF Plus is tired of the UFS's one-sided handling of racial issues and we want action," youth leader Jan van Niekerk said.

The organisation had written a letter to the dean of student affairs Rudi Buys complaining that black students were being let off lightly for involvement in initiations, while whites were punished harshly.

Van Niekerk was reacting to a second initiation video surfacing at the UFS, this time with white students as the "victims".

It shows four white students at the predominantly black Villa Bravado men's residence having water thrown at them.

They are made to stand on one leg and say something inaudible, and later crawl around in the water on the floor in front of other students.

Students brought it to university management's attention earlier this year, which took note of it "with great dismay", the UFS said in a statement on Monday.

The video was made in October 2009.

'Drastic steps'

Buys suspended the hostel's student head Chris Nthakeni, which the FF Plus Youth said was not adequate.

Disciplinary measures were also started against the residence head for his alleged involvement.

The FF Plus called for an investigation into the Villa Bravado incident, followed by the expulsion of the student leaders involved.

Van Niekerk said in 2009 the UFS expelled the whole residence committee of the Armentum men's hostel over initiation practises.

These students had the decision revoked after litigation.

After a similar incident senior students were expelled from the Karee men's residence.

"If UFS rector Professor Jonathan Jansen wants to keep his credibility he should take transparent and drastic steps... as he promised in such cases," said Van Niekerk.

In a statement on Monday UFS Rector Jonathan Jansen said he hoped the Villa Bravado case was the last of initiations, a practice the institution had banned.

The UFS was convinced the event was not a case of black students acting against white students, because black members of the residence committee had undergone the same initiation exercise earlier.

UFS spokesperson Lacea Loader confirmed they had received the FF Plus' letter.