‘Racist’ attackers don’t represent us – Jonathan Jansen

2014-02-21 12:37

The bad behaviour of two or ten or 20 students does not represent the behaviour of 30 000 students, Professor Jonathan Jansen, rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), has said after an alleged racist attack on a student.

“I want you all to keep things in perspective ...

“The hate and violence shown by a minority do not represent the ideals, aspirations and commitment of the majority,” he said in an open letter to students.

Jansen wrote the open letter after students Charl Blom and Cobus Muller allegedly first bumped Damane Gwebu with their bakkie and then assaulted him.

Blom and Muller appeared briefly in the Bloemfontein Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

One of the charges against them, reckless and negligent driving, was amended to an attempted murder charge.

They were also charged with assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm and failing to stop after an accident.

They were released on a warning and must appear in court again on April 9.

Jansen’s letter continues: “We’ve come too far to allow a few criminals to derail everything we have built up in the past few years.”

According to the letter, Jansen has full confidence in the students. He asked them to unite in their condemnation of this disgusting act of violence.

Jansen also called for realistic thinking.

“Anyone who thinks transformation can be driven without resistance clearly does not understand how difficult the process is.”

According to the open letter, emergency measures have been introduced to discuss the incident in depth with all who are involved.

Pieter Schuurman, director at Hill McHardy and Herbst Attorneys, said that Blom and Muller denied the incident was racially motivated.

They also strongly denied the allegations of reckless or negligent driving, assault and failing to stop after an accident.

Schuurman also said his clients had not been suspended by UFS.

He said Blom and Muller had offered UFS their full co-operation to reach a meaningful and peaceful solution to the problem.

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