Sat Oct 22 05:35:38 SAST 2016

Jansen in a spot over 'Reitz 4' row

By unknown | Mar 26, 2010 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

UNIVERSITY of the Free State rector Jonathan Jansen stands accused of dodging Parliament and Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande about racism in his institution.

Jansen has also not told Nzimande and Parliament's portfolio committee on higher education exactly how much he promised in financial reparations to black workers who suffered racial abuse at the hands of white UFS students.

The students, known as the "Reitz Four", were charged with crimen injuria and suspended from UFS after they allegedly forced black campus staff to eat food laced with their urine.

But when Jansen took office at the university last year, he withdrew the criminal charges against the suspended students and invited them back to continue with their studies.

At the time, Jansen said UFS would make financial compensation to the four workers in exchange for allowing the students back. But Jansen has never revealed the amount.

Higher Education director-general Mary Metcalfe told a press briefing in Parliament yesterday: "We have explicitly asked Jansen that question. We haven't received a reply."

An angry Marius Fransman, chairperson of the portfolio committee, said Parliament was losing its patience with Jansen.

"Jansen has already thrice apologised for not coming to present his rationale for allowing the students back on campus. We are losing our patience with him," said Fransman.

But Jansen's spokesperson Lacea Loader said: "Negotiations around reparations are done by the Human Rights Commission, who will make proposals about what the university's obligations to the workers should be. Because of this, no payment of compensation has been made yet."

Meanwhile, Nzimande is taking his war on tenderpreneurship to the universities.

"University council, SRC or university staff members cannot be associated with tenders or be service providers in the institution in which they serve. You can't be sitting on council having inside information and then be associated with a service provider. It is corruption," Nzimande said. - Anna Majavu


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