Rector warns Maties will not tolerate racism

Stellenbosch University (SU) will not tolerate any form of racism. Students who render themselves guilty of any such act can expect the ultimate sanction provided for in the student disciplinary code of the University. This is the stern warning by Prof Russel Botman, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, on learning that two students appeared in court after an alleged assault of a black student.

The students appeared in the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday on a charge of attempted murder following an alleged incident on the night of 6 March 2009 in Molteno Street, Stellenbosch when four white males attacked and assaulted a black student. The University immediately launched its own investigation and based on the findings will decide on further appropriate action.

This incident comes amidst various complaints of alleged acts of racism by the South African National Police Service (SAPS) against black students of the University. Last year Prof Botman led a delegation of SU representatives for a high level discussion with Comm. Dirk Mentoor and the leadership of the SAPS in Stellenbosch in an effort to nip the problem in the bud. This was followed by another meeting in the Council chambers of the University under the chairmanship of Prof Arnold van Zyl, Vice-Rector (Research).

At this occasion Comm. Mentoor expressed his regret and apologised to the affected students. He pledged to sensitise the members of the police to acts of racism in the execution of their duties. Since then the student leadership and representatives of the SAPS have met regularly to discuss matters of mutual interest. Recently, however, black students reported new incidents of alleged racist acts by the Stellenbosch Police to the University.

Prof Botman has called on the police to live up to the promises that they have made in discussions with the University leadership. He also requested that they deliver the long awaited progress report on charges laid by students against the police that are being investigated by the Independent Complaints Directorate.

He urged students to use all existing channels at the University to report any act of racism. Students have the following options: Dean of Students, the Student Representative Council, the University’s Risk and Protection Services (USBD), the 24-hour crisis service of the Centre for Student Counseling and Development (CSCD) and the ombudsman.

“Since last year Mr Llwellyn MacMaster, the Dean of Students, has been in discussions with the First Generation Commission on issues that affect black student on campus, but it is essential that all incidents of racism are reported. A Student Wellness Forum has also been established in Mr MacMaster’s office to attend to students’ concerns. Without information we cannot investigate an incident, and we cannot act against offenders. In cases where incidents were reported and were taken to criminal court, the University facilitated legal assistance to the complainants via the Legal Aid Clinic. I would like to extend an open invitation once again to our students to utilise the university structures to address these kinds of issues,” Prof Botman said.

Contact details:
Dean of Students 021 808-2222
SRC 021 808-2493
USBD: 021 808-2330 (24 hour)
0800 60 11 37 (toll free)
CSCD 24-hour crisis service 082 557 0880 (Stellenbosch campus)
082 557 0881 (Tygerberg campus)
Ombudsman:  021 808-2750 (office)
082 807 2994

Issued by Communication and Liaison, Stellenbosch University
Enquiries: Mohamed Shaikh
Tel: 021 808-4633 / 0834405988