Disciplinary action withdrawn against Potch student who was called a monkey

2017-07-18 22:40


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Potchefstroom – The disciplinary action against the North-West University student, accused of contravening the university's social media policy due to his response after he was called a monkey on social media by a fellow student has been withdrawn, vice-chancellor Dan Kgwadi said on Tuesday.

On Monday, News24 reported that final year LLB student, Jeandré Goliath would face the university’s disciplinary committee on Tuesday morning for “social media abuses”.

At issue was a comment thread on Facebook between Goliath and a fellow student, Hanno Bisschoff. A separate disciplinary committee has since found Bisschoff guilty for referring to Goliath as an "apie" (monkey).

In a statement on Tuesday, Kgwadi said as chief student disciplinary officer he reconsidered the case and decided to withdraw it.

He said Bischoff was given a suspended sentence of two years expulsion and a R5000 fine on May 30 for damaging the university’s name and making statements on social media amounting to discrimination.

Kgwadi said the university would like to apologise to staff and student for incidents of this nature.

“It is clear that we need to do more in our mission of educating students to live and work in South Africa, in the spirit of our mission, our values and our country’s Constitution,” he said.

On Tuesday, Goliath told News24 he welcomed the withdrawal, but would still like an apology from the university for the “unjustified” charges that were lodged against him.

“How is it possible that I, as the complainant and victim in this case, become the perpetrator?” Goliath asked.

“At this stage, the [university] acts as if there is no racial tension on the Potchefstroom campus while they try to mute students, like myself, who stand up for social justice and inequality and refer to us as a small group of radical students.”

“My case is no different to the hundred others faced by other students. Only because they weren’t strong enough to stand they are now potentially suffering. They [the university] are trying to deny the extent of racial tension at the university by censoring the plight of the oppressed on the campus.”

Goliath believes pressure from the media resulted in his charges being withdrawn.

“Today when we [my lawyer and I] arrived there [at the disciplinary hearing], the hearing was supposed to commence at 10.00 but they were just in a room discussing something about the hearing. They kept us waiting for two hours… I was only later told that I can speak to the Vice-Chancellor at 14:00 where the case was withdrawn.”

In the Facebook comment section of the Facebook post in question, dated May 15, Goliath called AfriForum Jeug an intolerant organisation and said black students "are tired of being 'accommodated'".

In response, Bisschoff said Goliath "oozes inferiority" and his "sense of entitlement is sickening".

Bisschoff wrote in Afrikaans, "Dis nadat ons ondankbare apies soos julle ‘n kans gegee het wat julle die mat onder ons voete uitgepluk het (It was after we gave ungrateful monkeys like you a chance when you pulled the carpet from underneath our feet)."

"You have a plundering mentality because you can’t build your own successful institutions," Bisschoff wrote.

Goliath responded saying Bisschoff’s "white supremacy is nauseating".

"Plundering mentality is your white Afrikaner mentality that thinks you [are] superior because a black body must constantly feel inferior to you, that's why your inherent racism allows you to call other people 'monkeys'," Goliath said.

Bisschoff’s comments have since been deleted and it appears his Facebook page has been deactivated.

Read more on:    north west university  |  racism

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