News24

Breakthrough for reconciliation

2009-10-29 22:28

Bloemfontein - ANCYL president Julius Malema and UFS rector Jonathan Jansen have agreed on a number of issues as the Free State ANC spokesperson said Malema's support of Jansen is not a deviation of the party's original position.

Malema has come out in full support of Jansen remaining in his position.

"We do not agree with any call that he must go," Malema told reporters after a meeting with Jansen, who has come under widespread criticism for offering a pardon to the so-called Reitz Four.

"Jansen is one of our own," he later told students. "We cannot feed Jansen to the enemy."

Malema said as a youth organisation, the ANCYL could not stand in the way of students who wanted to return to university.

Not opposing education


"We are not opposing the four students (Reitz Four) going back. We represent students, we will never support any exclusion of students."

However, if the Reitz Four returned to the UFS, there should be corrective measures.

"There must be a disciplinary process; the four students must show remorse so that they are apologetic and regret what happened," Malema said, adding that the former students should only come back under these conditions.

Malema said the Youth League also did not support punitive measures in disciplining students, because student would rather learn from a "corrective measures" situation.

"We must support a reconciliation process."

The ANCYL president said the organisation agreed with Jansen that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission-like process should be instituted at the university.

Forum

Everybody, black and white, should be able to express their feelings at such a forum as to how they had been affected by racism on the campus.

Malema said the UFS was still racially divided.

Jansen came under fire after announcing that the Reitz Four would be allowed to return to campus and continue their studies if they wanted to.

RC Malherbe, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and Danie Grobler still face charges of crimen injuria in court.

Two of the students have already completed their studies, but the other two are planning to return to campus.

The four allegedly made a video in which five black university employees were shown taking part in a mock initiation into hostel activities.

The employees were filmed on their hands and knees eating food which had apparently been urinated on by a white student.

Under criticism

As a result of the criticism levelled at his decision, Jansen has started a "consultation process" about the matter.

Other aspects the ANCYL discussed with Jansen were the working conditions of the five workers, such as their uniforms, and their redeployment out of the residence environment.

It was agreed that Jansen would meet personally with the workers and explain why he made his decision and apologise.

"There must be some sort of reparation, not money, so that they (workers) feel welcome on campus and the Prof (Professor Jansen) must rebuild their confidence," Malema said.

He said the ANCYL stood with Jansen on his announcement that campus residents would have a 50/50 intake of black and white students from next year.

Another aspect taken up with Jansen was that English classes, mostly given in the afternoon and at night, would move to morning sessions.

"We have agreed with Prof that English courses are offered in early hours so that African students can attend when they are still fresh, because after three everybody is exhausted," he said.

No deviation

Free State ANC spokesperson Teboho Sikisi said Malema's support of Jansen was not a deviation of the party's original position.

It was always "broadly" around the transformation of the institution and there had been a number of issues the party had raised, such as the integration of hostels.

"The issue of the Reitz Four and why our fallout with Jansen, was because he took a unilateral decision to stop disciplinary process, that has been our issue with him," said Sikisi.

He said Jansen's recent steps [to reopen discussions of Reitz] should be commended.

"He has seen sense, because you cannot do reconciliation as an individual."

Sikisi said the ANC as a party would also meet Jansen and "their own issues" would be put on the table.

"The pressure that we have mounted and the alliance, was beginning to herald results, there is no turnabout," he said.