UFS rector apologises to workers

2008-02-27 19:30

Bloemfontein - Attorneys have been instructed to formulate criminal charges against four students involved in making a racist video demeaning four workers, the University of the Free State (UFS) announced on Wednesday.

This comes after the UFS on Tuesday barred two of the four students from the Reitz men's residence from access to the campus.

"The other two students who can be seen in the video have since completed their studies and were no longer on campus," UFS spokesperson Anton Fisher said.

He said the internal disciplinary procedures of the university must take its course.

The rector, Professor Frederick Fourie, on Wednesday again condemned the video and the gross violation of human rights that it portrayed and promised to deal "swiftly and firmly" with the matter.

Apologised face to face

Fisher said Fourie personally met the workers shown on the video and apologised to them face to face.

"Counselling was being arranged for the workers."

The university suspended student classes on Wednesday afternoon in a "proactive step" to allow the emotions of staff and students to calm down.

Fisher said that although a protest march by hundreds of staff and students during the morning proceeded peacefully, there had been sporadic incidents of intimidation and damage to property.

Five students were arrested by police, but released later in the day.

Classes to resume

Fisher said classes would resume on Thursday.

The university plans to respond as soon as possible to the demands of student organisations and two trade unions, Nehawu and UVPERSU, who handed memorandums to management.

The Reitz residence committee in the meantime expressed its disgust with media reports on the video, which was made in September 2007.

The house committee said in a statement they and the current house residents distanced themselves from incidents of racism and regretted that the video was seen as a racial incident.

"The house committee and members of Reitz hostel have, particularly from the beginning of 2008, tried to positively implement the UFS' policy of hostel integration in a manner which was conducive to racial harmony and was glad to say that no racial incidents perceived or otherwise, were reported so far this year," a statement read.

The committee felt it would be unfair to judge all for the actions of a few.

Reitz residents would abide by any reasonable action taken against any guilty individuals, the house committee said.

  • Lily - 2008-02-27 20:22

    The UFS workers are adults who weren't forced to do anything, this is a free country, they chose to co-operate cbecause they wanted free food and beers.Good for them, blacks are way too apologetic,they love freebies and easy life. On a daily basis, I see them submitting to and throwing themselves at the white folk and silently begging for acceptance, what a shame. What happened at UFS tells us that the rainbow nation is a dream it was back in 1994. From a forever unapologetic black woman.

  • Lily - 2008-02-27 20:30

    Parents must fight until the bitter end and use the video to prove that the workers were willing participants.I'm black but I don't feel anythin g, instead I'm laughing at the bunch of fools who knelt to eat a stew that was urinated on. Those blacks who believed that freedom was about selling one's soul to whites are the ones who're up in arms or feeling ashamed. I've been left standing alone because I wouldn't sell my soul to a whites or to anyone for that matter.

  • Tsotsi - 2008-02-27 20:40

    And I wonder how they are going to proof that it was the same meat that was eaton? I wonder what the cleaners say and what their side of the story are? Why have they not said anything yet? They looked quite happy participating. Wonder if this is not just out as propaganda against the Akrikaner. Looks really suspicious in that nothing has come from the "victims" side. They are being politically influenced I can guarantee you that!!!

  • Mimza - 2008-02-27 20:49

    UFS students and workers have given a new meaning to the saying. If what happened at UFS happened outside of the workers' tea and lunch time, they should be called to a disciplinary hearing and be given first and final written warning for wasting their employer's time. Better still, they should be fired, the employer would have a case at CCMA because the video has the date and time of the film.

  • kevin smith - 2008-02-27 20:54

    after watching this video, I feel ashamed to say that I am white. I know that this does not define all white people but unfortunately it does reinforce perceptions and stereotypes. I am struggling to understand what are the value systems of the perpetrators. What would their parents think? Indeed it is a sad day that Gods children can behave in such a manner.

  • Don Adams - 2008-02-27 21:02

    It is a shame that you think so of these black women,They were just being in co operative spirit as their parents were. Always willing to live in harmony.They were taken for fools and lied to. Being at campus and willing to help these students with their "test", they did what they thought was right.You will be suprise to see and hear of how many people as still struggling for a slice of bread on a daily basis.Its time that these boys are thought a lesson.Many white people are just pretending.

  • H - 2008-02-27 21:25

    Wow, I am impressed. Seems that all the sensible people comment after work hours. Lily and Mimza - I agree. No one, whether they are black workers or white 'eerstejaartjies', should allow themselves to be subjected to such action. Even so the responsible students are still idiots. Furthermore, what criminal charges can possibly be presses? I guess a lesser form of assault, but in this case the victims seem to give consent.

  • lyndon - 2008-02-27 21:52

    It seems that these employees did not know about the urine in the soup in the first place. I saw the video as posted on news24. The students involved should be severely punished. It is an act against human rights. They used alcahol as a means to lure these workers. If I had R1m to lure these students, who knows what i would put in their soup.

  • Elzabe - 2008-02-27 22:16

    The UFS video exposes the hypocrisy of society towards fundamental transformation. Whilst many whites have been forced to accept the realities of political correctness in the workplace, this has not translated into a genuine acceptance at a social level. Too many whites still think it's acceptable to make racist comments & jokes in their white social circles. No one lets themselves be willingly humiliated like this. UFS management must deal brutally with the students involved.

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