Maties student calls protesters K-word

2016-09-21 18:09

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Cape Town - A Stellenbosch University (SU) student who used a racially offensive term to describe protesters has been referred to the institution's equality unit.

SU spokesperson Martin Viljoen told News24 on Wednesday the incident would be treated "with the seriousness that the situation demands".

"Racist language is unacceptable, not only in terms of the student disciplinary code, but also in terms of the Constitution of South Africa," he said.

Screenshots of the WhatsApp conversation had been circulating on Twitter. They were taken from a chat in an academic group about the locations of the protesters.

After a student asked where the group was, one replied: "Ingenieurs gebou. Kaffers [sic] have entered the building."

After other members of the group called him out for his statement, he responded: "Wrong group. So sorry."

News24 could not immediately reach the student for comment. 

The student is a resident at the Metanoia Residence. The house committee said in a statement on Tuesday that it condemned the remarks.

'Critical engagement' necessary

"We distance ourselves from these views as they do not represent the values of Metanoia. In addition, we have taken the necessary steps to refer the matter to the equality unit, and a formal complaint will be laid on Wednesday."

It said "critical engagement" with the Metanoia Residence was necessary. Student Representative Council spokesperson James de Villiers said they would support the committee's efforts.

Meanwhile, SU said on Wednesday it had obtained a court interdict against students protesting over university fees.

Students on campuses across the country, including a group at Stellenbosch's main campus and its medical school in Tygerberg, rejected Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande's fee structure for 2017.

A group called #Feesmustfall Stellenbosch 2.0 said in a Facebook post that about 30 students had been served with an interdict and told to leave the Lillian Ngoyi auditorium, where they had gathered during their protest.

They occupied the main library last Friday, to protest against fees and demand "decolonised education". Security guards removed them.

SU had already said it needed a minimum fee increase of 8% to maintain its level of education.

Read more on:    university of stellenbosch  |  cape town  |  social media  |  university fees

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