Judgment reserved in Reitz Four appeal

2011-06-13 22:46

Bloemfontein - Judgment was reserved by the Free State  High Court on Monday in an appeal hearing by the four former University of the Free State students who humiliated five of its black workers.

The former students, known as the Reitz Four want the High Court to reduce their sentence, legal counsel Kemp J Kemp told the court.

The four humiliated five black workers in an initiation-type ceremony in 2007, which they filmed while living at the university's now-closed Reitz men's residence.

RC Malherbe, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and Danie Grobler pleaded guilty to a charge of crimen injuria in July 2010 and were each fined R20 000 or a year in jail.

They were also sentenced to a further six months’ imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on certain conditions.

These conditions included that they not be convicted of crimen injuria or crimen defamation during the period of suspension, and that the Equality Court not find that they had unfairly discriminated against anyone else on the grounds of race.

Kemp submitted that, in sentencing them, the lower court focused on aspects outside their guilty plea.

He argued that they pleaded guilty to the crimen injuria in the "picture" created by the video and not what had "happened" on the day of the filming.

"The [lower] court did not take the subtle difference into consideration," he contended.

He said the court was not entitled to look beyond the plea of guilty in considering sentence.

'Sentence balanced, humane'

The former students want the High Court to drop the six months’ suspended sentence and reduce the fine to between R5 000 and R10 000 to bring the sentence in line with comparable cases.

Legal counsel for the State Johan Kruger told the court it should be considered that the video recording formed part of the guilty plea.

He said considering the offence and all the relevant circumstances, there was no misdirection on the part of the trial court on the first part of the sentence of a fine and imprisonment on defaulting.

He submitted that, if the court found against the State, the fines should not be reduced to below R15 000 each.

Kruger also submitted that the suspension of a six month imprisonment sentence was according to law and could not be argued as misdirection.

Opposing the appeal, the State argued that the sentence imposed was balanced and humane and was blended with the right amount of mercy.

The appeal was heard by Judge MH Rampai and Judge MB Molemela.

Judgment was reserved.

Earlier this year, about 300 guests watched when the four students publicly expressed "deep regret" for their conduct and the harm it caused the workers, the university and the broader community.

At the reconciliation ceremony, the former students said they had failed the workers and now knew that their conduct had hurt them.

"With true remorse and humility, we ask you to forgive us," Danie Grobler said on their behalf.

The workers accepted the apology.

It followed an out of court agreement in separate matters in the Equality Court between the workers and "the boys", as the former students were referred to at the time, and the university.

  • OZNOB - 2011-06-13 23:24

    THEY should take their punishment and then move having learnt the hard how not to treat people though I am also inclined to blame those in charge of thar varsity who probably knew what was going on at that res and did little if anything to stop what was going on until it was too late.

      Sean - 2011-06-14 01:56

      You CLEARLY have no clue what the whole video was about and how the RADICAL government dogs blew this all out of proportion because of race. Find fact before opening mouth.

      roboman1 - 2011-06-14 08:19

      I agree with Oznob, it was a horrible thing they did and they deserve their sentences. Sean, you sound retarded

      S knot - 2011-06-14 09:15

      Roboman it is fine to agree with oznob, but why is Sean suddenly retarded? Because you don't agree with him??? Looks like you also enjoy insulting and degrading people. The only difference is you don't do it on video but rather post it in writing. Hipocrate.

      Threelions23 - 2011-06-14 10:25

      Dude everyone at Uni has been through a "ceremony" regardless of colour... What they did is wrong but its "normal" in the student world.

      Thangy - 2011-06-14 10:56

      @Sean not true, what these four did was horrible and disgusting! I hope they burn!!

      Steen - 2011-06-14 13:12

      @Sean if it was blacks against whites, I am telling you will be singing a different tune, these boys deserve this punishment what they did is inhumane

      daaivark - 2011-06-14 13:48

      Sean, who exactly is it that has no clue? Your comment would seem to indicate that this is something that applies to you. Perhaps you should follow your own wise advice.

      daaivark - 2011-06-14 13:50

      threelions, "normal in a student world" HELLO. I am not aware of how many student ceremonies involve degrading the staff. They usually confine their barbarism to other students.

      LBS - 2011-06-15 14:40

      Ag and I thought this case was now long forgotten. And everyone forget that those women first enjoyed it and laughed about it - until some wise crack told them they can make money out of it then suddenly changed their attitude towards the entire matter. However, I do feel that this joke was taken too far!

  • Benzo - 2011-06-14 02:12

    For heavens sake, bunch of students make a student fun thing..then the world jumps in and the judges and advocates make a chunk of money out of it. The so-called victims would have loved that kind of money in their pockets. Racism has become a money spinner for the legal fraternity.

      Beannie - 2011-06-14 05:37

      You are so right. The whole thing has been blown out of proportion.

      roboman1 - 2011-06-14 08:20

      fun for who??? Those elderly women workers??? I don;t think so

      Grace london - 2011-06-14 09:22

      i wonder if those bunch of students would have liked if it was their parents who were made to do that. The are lots of silly things students do and that is not one of them ...

      African'shtr - 2011-06-14 10:22

      Benzo you are insane thus a mother, how would you feel if that was done by me to your mother telling her to eat food with urea

      onetickie - 2011-06-14 13:35

      @Grace London: did you see them in leg irons? Chains? being forcibly held down? See someone hold their heads and forcibly pour booze down their throats? They had fun, enjoyed it and only afterwards decided to try and capitalize and turn it into a racial incident.

      daaivark - 2011-06-14 13:51

      FUN!!!! ??? Remind me never to party with you.

  • Wernher - 2011-06-14 07:00

    dadys paying

  • John Sisulu - 2011-06-14 07:09

    If this is the type of sentence they receive, then i would like to see what sentence Julius will receive if he was in their shoes.

      daaivark - 2011-06-14 13:51


  • markings - 2011-06-14 07:14

    I hope they lose the appeal and have to pay the lawyers a few 100k in fees plus the cost of the state's team.The original sentence seems eminently fair to me. Some people have more money than sense.

  • Skrappie - 2011-06-14 07:31

    Enough already...

  • johan - 2011-06-14 07:34


  • Mary - 2011-06-14 07:37

    wasted sperms, give them to me and I will personally cut off their testicles.

      buzz - 2011-06-14 08:08

      Sperms don't have testicles

      Bla Bla - 2011-06-14 08:14

      Do want to use it for muti?

      S knot - 2011-06-14 11:18

      Mary had a little lamb...little lamb...little lamb, mary had a little lamb and the doctor asked do you fornicate with sheep? Mmmm mary interesting choice of sperm you have there my lass.

  • Jarra - 2011-06-14 07:38

    Well apparently it is ok if a farmer's throat is slit and dragged behind a bakkie, but the world will come down on you if you feed someone your urine? Why does the farm murders not get as much attention?

      Kevin King - 2011-06-14 08:16

      Farm murders is not an issue in South Africa. Men can rape a woman on a farm with broken bottles until her uterus is removed but people will create an uproar and call for "testicles to be cut off" for the Reitz four. Hey Mary?

      Bla Bla - 2011-06-14 08:45

      The can kill a Zimbabwe man if he is a snake. Why don’t they run now to the world and cry. Double standards.

      onetickie - 2011-06-14 13:39

      Does anyone know if the "urine" they were forced to drink was DEFINITELY urine? Were the containers swabbed and sent for testing? I don't recall rading whether that was definitely proven so would like to know?

      daaivark - 2011-06-14 13:53

      COme on, onetickie. You can do better than that, surely.

  • - 2011-06-14 07:39

    Stories like this one are issues that affect every South African. As a result I feel the best way to deal with them is with the sharing of opinion and thereafter the debate of said opinion. In the spirit of us we have created an opinion and debate site called WECANDOBETTER.CO.ZA. Submitting articles is easy and requires no registration. The forum system is just as easy to use and you can sign in as a guest or use your TWITTER or FACEBOOK accounts to log into it.

  • Coin - 2011-06-14 08:08

    At least those black workers are still alive and well and not lying in a pool of blood in the lounges of their farms...

      S knot - 2011-06-14 11:22

      I hear they have to drink Citro-soda every now-and-again because their acid content is a bit high.

  • Kevin King - 2011-06-14 08:27

    South Africa is the rape and murder capital of the WORLD! And yet we go on about the Reitz 4. WOW!

      Mchana - 2011-06-14 11:28

      you dom san, i think we need to nationalise your big motuh

  • York Hunt - 2011-06-14 10:07

    "who humiliated five of its black workers" Why does the article specifically identify the victims' race? When a farm murder is reported the race of the attackers is NEVER mentioned??? Someone please explain that one!

      Mchana - 2011-06-14 11:29

      you don't read, you are shallow in thinking and your views are limited in scope.

      Kevin King - 2011-06-14 12:21

      @ York: That would be politically incorrect.

  • African'shtr - 2011-06-14 10:20

    the're small things that us as blacks we turn to forget there's that white boy who took a riffle and shot dead and injured some in these form areas and people will always say why farmers are killed the only answer to it they don't want to accept the change thus why they still stay in Isolation, they are full of hatred that they got from the military camps at the age of sixteen. they are now transfering it to their kids thus why we see things like these in our days. these farmers should change.

      zena - 2011-06-14 13:04

      so quick to talk, these killers should change. wonder if a gun was held to their heads to take part, firstly if it was so degrading to them, they should not have taken part and reported it before it happened.

      African'shtr - 2011-06-14 15:08

      Zena I saw that video it was very disgusting you would not like it if it was your mother also.

      behind.our.smiles - 2011-06-14 15:36

      Change and do what?? Do you know what farmers even do African'shtr?? Then again maybe the farmers should all stop farming, then the white people will still make a plan to get food, hence the saying 'n boer maak n plan' but the rest of you will starve.

  • Mchana - 2011-06-14 11:26

    they must rot in jail, bloody racists.

      battleboy - 2011-06-14 13:18

      if they must rot in jail for this, then the government needs 500years in jail for crimes against humanity, corruption etc. oh but maybe its alright cause they are black

  • onetickie - 2011-06-14 13:31

    I saw the video of the Reitz Four shenanigans over and over as aired on tv. To be honest, the "offended" people seemed to be having a great time. I don't care how much I shall be slagged off for this but if ANYONE watched the footage and watched behaviour/expressions I would be proved right. They were not tied up, held down and certainly did not look unset, scared - they looked like they were having fun - FACT! Does anybody out there not know what initiation in boarding schools is about?? Even the Royals in UK went through initiation. This was NOT A VIOLENT ACT, they had fun and only afterwards called foul. And no matter how many negative responses I get, I won't change my mind. Its because the Reitz four are white that this got turned into a racist incident - as usual.

      jowza - 2011-06-14 13:43

      let them do that to your mother,then we all can have a good laugh

      allie - 2011-06-14 14:09

      Our mothers are not so retarded to fall for such stupidity AH.

      African'shtr - 2011-06-14 15:13

      onetickie five women who were victims of spoilt brats white rich boys who forced them to eat food with urine, then you come here and say they enjoyed it I'm telling you you'll die inthe hands of a black man, i hope u'll enjoy that as well, ask your ancestor eugene he'll. when its a white man in trouble you shout out but when its a black man they are enjoying it, I'm telling you. you one of the people who increase malema support

      behind.our.smiles - 2011-06-14 15:39

      @jowsa, I'm sure onetickie's mother has legs, and if you add some brains to that, then she would probably just get up and walk out the door.

  • Maxwell - 2011-06-14 15:19

    This is clearly evident that seventeen (17) years on post democracy there is still gross level of racial tension in South Africa. Offenders are white meanwhile the victims are all blacks. However more than been mere black they (victims) are possibly old enough to be their mothers. I’m just curious of their motives, hmm.

  • Maxwell - 2011-06-14 16:00

    This is clearly evident that seventeen (17) years on post democracy there is still gross level of racial tension in South Africa. Offenders are white meanwhile the victims are all blacks. However more than been mere black they (victims) are possibly old enough to be their mothers. I’m just curious of their motives, hmm.

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