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Asmal blames UFS for crisis

2008-02-28 11:40

Cape Town - Former Minister of Education, Professor Kader Asmal, slammed the University of the Free State's (UFS) governing body for not implementing integration policies earlier, at a conference for diversity in Cape Town on Thursday morning.

"The real culpability is not these imbecilic four young men," Asmal said of the four students responsible for a racially offensive video showing black workers' dignity being violated.

"Five years ago I told the vice chancellor and the governing body there that they must move away from the racially organised halls of residences."

White and black UFS students have, up to the end of last year, lived in separate residences.

The video was made by students in the Reitz Hostel in response to the university's integration policy, which proposed racial quotas for residences.

Asmal spoke about a "map of integration," which he said had failed in the Free State.

"Integrations can't just take place by itself," said Asmal at the conference, which was organised by the FW de Klerk Foundation. "There must be positive measures in place."

The conference tackled the issue of unity in diversity in South Africa and featured speeches by former president, FW de Klerk, Asmal, as well as Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor.

"This conference is intended to focus our attention on who we are as a nation - and who we would like to be," said de Klerk, emphasising that indigenous cultures and languages must be protected in South Africa.