Racism claims not rare at Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch University (SU), which is in the midst of a racism storm, has dealt with 42 cases of racism/discrimination between 2016 and 2021, the institution revealed yesterday.

SU spokesperson Martin Viljoen, in response to questions from Sunday World, said: “The Equality Unit looks at various categories of transgressions. In terms of alleged discrimination, there were three cases in 2016; 16 in 2017; 13 in 2017; three in 2019; seven in 2020 and 0 in 2021 – with varying outcomes.

“There have been no dismissals of staff for racism or race-related conduct in the last five years (2017 – 2021).

“With regard to students, only one student was expelled – in 2017,” he said.

Racism at the institution reared its ugly head this week when a first-year law student Theuns du Toit entered 20-year-old Babalo Ndwayana’s Huis Marais room during the early hours of Sunday and urinated on his study desk. Calls for Du Toit’s expulsion have grown louder.

Asked by Ndwayana why he was doing that, Du Toit is said to have responded: “This is what we do to black boys.”

Ndwayana filmed the incident and the footage went viral on social media where calls for Du Toit’s expulsion were made.

Du Toit has since been suspended and expelled from the residence. Ndwayana had initially forgiven him but with pressure from his father, who wants justice, laid a criminal complaint at the Stellenbosch police station.

Ndwayana is supported by thousands of infuriated students who launched a petition calling for Du Toit’s expulsion. So far, the petition has garnered nearly 30, 000 signatures.

The university condemned the incident, stating that it does not condone racism, discrimination and exclusion.

Reiterating the institute’s stance on the matter, Viljoen said the universitywas working tirelessly to ensure “greater awareness uptake of social sensitivity, transformation and inclusion”.

He said there were initiatives put in place to secure a safe and inclusive campus life “for all regardless of their race, background or social standing”.

According to Viljoen, the university is guided by its Vision 2040 and values, which include excellence, compassion, equity, respect and accountability. Viljoen told Sunday World that the policy on unfair discrimination and harassment and the student disciplinary code, as well as the corresponding codes for staff, guides acceptable behaviour.

“Inclusivity is part of the university’s Vision 2040 and is the main element of our slogan: forward together/sonke siya phambili/saam vorentoe. Transformation, inclusion and racial harmony are non-negotiable priorities. The university continues on this journey within the just structures provided by the South African constitution towards a more equitable society,” he said.

 

 

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