News24

Video: Reitz cleaners 'laughed'

2009-11-18 09:49

Bloemfontein - The University of the Free State (UFS) cleaners who appear in the controversial Reitz video were not offended when the video was being made, and had laughed when they saw the end product.

This is according to the supplementary submission by the four former Reitz residents, which they've directed to the director of public prosecutions as an appeal for the dismissal of a crimen injuria charge against them.

In the submission, the so-called Reitz four give their side of the story for the first time.

They state that while the video was being made, it never seemed as if the cleaners were being offended by what was happening. They participated voluntarily and could have stopped at any time, had they wanted to.

According to the submission, the day after the video was made, the cleaners were informed that the video had won the residence's cultural competition. It was shown to them on more than one occasion and they had not reacted negatively in any way whatsoever when they saw the footage.

Laughed

Other witnesses can testify that the cleaners had laughed about it.

Furthermore, the submission states it was only once others had falsely convinced them that the concoction they'd had to pretend to drink contained urine, that they raised their objections.

This was six months later, when the video inexplicably found its way onto the UFS network, and was distributed by two students from the Khayalami men's residence.

RC Malherbe, one of the four, made several attempts to speak to the cleaners, with a certain Mita in particular, to settle the matter. However, he was obstructed each time by Nehawu, the cleaners' union.

According to the submission, the four young men responsible for the filming of the video had not acted wrongfully at any stage, and they also did not intend to humiliate the cleaners.

It appears in the video that one of the women had told one of the students, with regard to drinking the concoction: "Like hell, man, I'm not going to do it."

Acting

The submission states that the women were not forced to drink the concoction. They were acting in the video, and what happened took place with the cleaners' permission.

The Reitz four deny that there had been urine in the concoction. They say that as part of tactics aimed at scaring first-year students ahead of their initiation, where similar concoctions are really consumed, they had pretended to urinate in the mixture in the video, "to strengthen the mythical fear".

A careful study of the video confirms this. There are no dangerous or "unclean" ingredients in the concoction.

The word sefebe (slut) which is used in the video, should also been understood in context, they stated. One of the four students and one of the cleaners had been calling each other by that word for years as part of ongoing teasing between the two of them. It was never meant to humiliate, and was also never interpreted that way.