News24

Jansen criticism 'shocking'

2009-10-29 11:51

Bloemfontein - Kovsie Alumni is "shocked" by the criticism of University of the Free State (UFS) rector Jonathan Jansen since his inauguration, a spokesman said on Thursday.

Chairperson of Kovsie Alumni, Naud de Klerk, said Jansen's balanced speech at his inauguration was received with a standing ovation by the guests present.

"These guests were not only representative of the UFS community, but also of the broader South African society," De Klerk said in a statement.

He said political opportunists had criticised Jansen's decision to drop internal charges against four students, who were allegedly involved in the making of a racist video, without putting it in the context of his inaugural speech.

"They have only contributed towards mass polarisation, distrust and suspicion. This stands in sharp contrast to Professor Jansen's message of reconciliation, unity and hope."

Kovsie Alumni appealed to the community to support Jansen in his endeavours to remove obstacles in the way of making the UFS a world-class university.

Malema meeting

On Thursday, African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema was set to meet Jansen to discuss his decision to pardon the four students who have become known as the Reitz Four.

"The ANC Youth League is meeting Jonathan Jansen to discuss his recent decision to drop charges against the racist students and allow some of them back into the university," the league said in a statement.

The delegation would include Malema, ANCYL treasurer general Pule Mabe, ANCYL spokesperson Floyd Shivambu and ANCYL Free State chairman Thabo Meeko.

The meeting was scheduled for 10:00.

The Reitz incident relates to four former students who allegedly made a video in which five black university employees were shown taking part in a mock initiation into hostel activities, which landed the institution in a racial storm in 2008.

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

Jansen's decision drew wide-spread criticism, causing him to start a "consultation process" about the matter.