Sasco rejects UFS apology

2008-03-24 16:13

Johannesburg - The South African Student Council has on Monday rejected an apology by the University of Free State and has called for the resignation of Education Minister, Naledi Pandor.

"We outrightly reject the apology as students and continue to call for more harsher forms of punishment of the perpetrators and protectors (Vice-Chancellor)," said Sasco spokesperson David Maimela.

A full page advert of apology published in the Sunday Times comes after a racist video which sparked a national outcry as it showed black university employees on their knees eating food which had apparently been urinated upon by a white student.

It depicts a mock initiation of five black staff members into hostel activities and refers openly to the university's integration policy for campus residences announced in 2007.

In the published statement, the university said it recognised the video as racist and showed disrespect towards fellow human beings "who were not only black, but were older, women and socially and economically disadvantaged".

Maimela said the apology by the council and the vice-chancellor was extremely patronising as the incident was not only an insult to "black or disadvantaged people", but to all of humanity.

"This is what the university misses and it makes the apology patronising."

'Pre-school minister'

He also called for the axing of education minister Naledi Pandor, sighting that" "the minister of pre-school" hasn't played a role in sending a strong message to all universities that fail to transform into truly South African universities.

"She has failed the people of this country and we continue to call for her head to roll as well.

"Our universities are still run like private institutions at the time when transformation must be accelerated!"

Maimela said transformation was not "urgent" as the statement suggests, but that was central and a non-negotiable imperative.

'Apology shows arrogance'

"The university has consciously protected, promoted and pursued racism in a post-apartheid South Africa, even as they continued at a campus level to campaign against this and other issues."

He said the apology showed arrogance and carelessness of the highest degree because sentiments expressed in the statement are that, it is correct to pursue, promote and protect racism and later use student money.

"The vice-chancellor did not use his money to pay for the advert, he dug into university subsidies, taxpayers money and student funds."