Student salute isn’t a Nazi salute, says North-West University vice-chancellor

2014-02-23 06:00

It was “preposterous’’ to claim North-West University students had performed a Nazi salute, its vice-chancellor, Dr Theuns Eloff, has said.

On Friday, Beeld published a video clip of a university residence initiation ceremony in which female first-year students performed a Nazi salute as part of a song welcoming the head of their residence committee.

Claims have also emerged of students using a Nazi-type “Heil Puk’’ salute on the campus.

Eloff told City Press yesterday that while the university apologised for any offence caused by the ceremony and the video clip, it was “preposterous’’ to claim that it was a Nazi salute. He also denied the existence of a Nazi or neo-Nazi culture at the institution’s Potchefstroom campus.

“It is not a Nazi salute. This is a two-minute video clip of the women’s residence, according to their tradition, composing a greeting to their chairwoman of the house committee. They sing about all kinds of things, their arms go up and go down. There is no Nazi salute. That is laughable,’’ Eloff said.

“We apologise if this little movement in the video has caused anybody concern,’’ he said.

Eloff said the university was also investigating complaints from four first-year students about alleged abuse by senior students in several of its residences. The complaints included that they were sworn at, pushed around and denied the used of a bathroom.

“It is taking a little longer [to investigate] the house committees which were suspended as there are four lawyers involved. We will act against any human rights infringements that may occur in any residence,’’ he said.

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