Unisa probes racist lecturer claim

Johannesburg - The University of SA (Unisa) will investigate a complaint of racism against a lecturer lodged by civil rights body AfriForum, a spokesperson said on Friday.

"The alleged racist remarks are certainly not in line with Unisa policy. He [the lecturer] would have been speaking in his personal capacity... we will investigate the matter," said Unisa spokesperson Doreen Gough.

AfriForum head of community affairs Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg wrote a letter to Unisa on Friday complaining about a talk given by lecturer Boitumelo Senokoane during a philosophy seminar.

Van Rensburg alleges that Senokane's talk entitled "White Man, you are on your own" was attended by about 40 academics and members of the public.

He complained that Senokoane said white people, liberals in particular, should not be trusted by black people, that whites who fought against apartheid "should not be regarded as partners" by black people, that white people's economic and political concerns did not need to be dealt with, and that white people had "never committed any good deeds towards black people" and they did not have "moral authority in any area".

Senokoane had told the group that the "God of the white man" had "deserted him", that white people were "social outcasts and religious hypocrites", and that racism was a "white phenomenon", Van Rensburg said.

"It is completely unacceptable for universities to allow this type of racism to receive recognition in academic circles.

"Unisa is used as a platform to transform black racism into a science," he said.

He added that the lecturer's comments appeared to be intended to cause division in society.

Van Rensburg would lodge a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission should Unisa fail to respond to his letter.

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