[lg policy] South Africa: Portfolio committee calls for Stellenbosch University meeting following allegations of racism and violence

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Wed Aug 26 14:38:36 UTC 2015

Portfolio committee calls for Stellenbosch University meeting following
allegations of racism and violence
RDM News Wire | 25 August, 2015 16:54

*Image by:* Lwazi Pakade via Twitter
Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training will call
the Stellenbosch University management to an urgent meeting in light of the
latest allegations of racism and violence at the institution.

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The committee agreed at their meeting on Tuesday morning that the
university’s management had to appear in Parliament to table their
transformation plans.

Committee chairperson Yvonne Phosa said‚ “We noted with serious concern the
allegations of racism and violence at Stellenbosch University. We are 21
years into a democratic South Africa and such alleged acts certainly have
no place in our society.

“We urge the Stellenbosch University management to swiftly deal with these
allegations. We are aware that there are some measures that the university
has put in place to ensure that there is transformation at Stellenbosch
University and that the institution becomes socially inclusive.

“But such efforts have to be sped up to ensure that allegations such as
those revealed in the Luister video are dealt with and do not rear their
ugly head again in future. It is one thing to talk about plans which are on
paper but we would like to see those plans being implemented.”

Released in August‚ the Luister video is a documentary distributed via
social media which shows how students are allegedly still exposed to the
dehumanising experiences of racism and other forms of discrimination. It is
a series of interviews with students who talk about their personal accounts
of race-based discrimination and even violence at the university.

Phosa said the committee was working on setting up a meeting with the
university management as soon as possible. “The issue of transformation at
Stellenbosch University has been on the committee’s agenda and we were
supposed to have had an oversight visit to the institution in July but this
was cancelled due to a number of factors on the university’s side‚” she

Phosa said that the committee was going to reprioritise its programme to
give immediate attention to this pressing matter. “Given the urgency of the
matter‚ we are going to call the institution to Parliament as soon as

We want to be able to have a meaningful dialogue with the university
leadership and impress upon them that the transformation of any public
institution of higher learning cannot be postponed.

“What we are clear on is that we cannot have a situation whereby a public
university’s language policy serves as a barrier that ultimately shuts out
some students from accessing higher education and training opportunities‚”
she said.

Phosa reassured the students and staff members who are victims of this
alleged racism and violence at the university that “as a committee‚ we will
certainly not only listen to their outcry but we will ensure that concrete
action is taken to address the issues raised and ensure that they work and
learn in an environment characterised by social cohesion”.

“While we acknowledge that Afrikaans speaking students have a right to be
taught in the language they prefer‚ we also want to state that it is of
paramount importance to recognise that any other student at the university
has the right to access higher education in a language they are conversant
with‚” she said.


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