Plan for racial harmony

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

The vice chancellor of the University of the Free State, Frederick Fourie, is confident of ending racial segregation among students at the institution.

Fourie said it was important for the students to be "socialised differently" for them to survive in the outside world.

Fourie told journalists in Johannesburg yesterday: "You can't have students attending the same classes but separate them when they go to the hostels."

The UFS hostels have for a long time been plagued by racial conflict, with black and white students squaring off to the point of violence.

Fourie said integrating the segregated residential areas was important to cultivate non-racial attitudes, thinking and behaviour among the students.

The UFS is one of the universities that has effectively incorporated multilingual lectures.

The institution was also planning to incorporate African studies in all the fields of study.

Fourie said the integration of racially segregated hostels at the institution would succeed.

He said the integration process would start next year.

Secretary of the South African Students Congress (Sasco) Boiketlo Letlole said her organisation supported the decision to merge the residences.

She said Sasco's counterpart Freedom Front Kovsie (FF Kovsie) was using the lack of consultation as a scapegoat to resist integration.

But outgoing FF Kovsie chairman Jan van Niekerk said they would continue to fight against the decision to integrate the hostels because correct procedures were not followed.

"There was no consultation, and even at meetings management wanted us to say what they wanted to hear and not our opinion," said Van Niekerk.

The vice rector of student affairs, Ezekiel Moraka, said the integration would go ahead as planned regardless of what the opposing group said.

Moraka said the integration of the hostels was in the best interest of the students and the country.

He said as a national asset the university wanted to help the country in celebrating its diversity.