Cabinet unhappy over UFS decision on Reitz four

2009-10-22 12:29

Cabinet has expressed dissatisfaction with Free State University

vice-chancellor Professor Jonathan Jansen’s decision to drop the university’s

internal charges against the students who “humiliated the workers at the


“The process that led to the dropping of the charges was flawed in

that it did not follow the established norm of getting the perpetrators to admit

guilt, to apologise to the victims before any charges could be dropped and to

initiate a reconciliation process,” government spokesman Themba Maseko said


Cabinet would be the first among those who promoted reconciliation

to take South Africa forward, he said.

However, reconciliation involved both parties moving towards one

another and should include some indication of remorse on the part of the


“The manner in which this matter was handled suggests that the

rights of the perpetrators have been given preference over the dignity and

rights of the victims.”

At its regular fortnightly meeting on Wednesday, Cabinet supported

Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande’s call for the university

to initiate an inclusive and consultative process to deal with this matter and

to address racism at the institution.

Nzimande had written to Jansen asking for an explanation, Maseko


Jansen came under fire from various quarters, including Nzimande

and the Congress of SA Trade Unions, earlier this week for his decision.

Four former students of the now-closed Reitz Men’s residence in

Bloemfontein – RC Malherbe, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and Danie

Grobler – are accused of filming a mock initiation of five black staff members

into hostel activities.

The students will go on trial for crimen injuria on October 26, but

in the meantime, Jansen decided to reopen the hostel and withdraw the

university’s internal processes against the students in the interests of racial


When making the announcement last Friday, Jansen said he had

consulted people across the country.


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