REITZ WORKERS 'LAUGHED AT VIDEO'

UNIVERSITY of the Free State workers in the "Reitz video" did not take offence when the video was made and laughed when they saw it, the Volksblad newspaper reported yesterday.

UNIVERSITY of the Free State workers in the "Reitz video" did not take offence when the video was made and laughed when they saw it, the Volksblad newspaper reported yesterday.

This is contained in a statement that forms part of additional representations the four former students of the Reitz men's residence made to the director of public prosecutions in a bid to get the charge of crimen injuria against them withdrawn.

The four former students are accused of humiliating five black staff members in the initiation-type ceremony in 2007, which they filmed.

The video was shown to the workers more than once, during which they never reacted negatively. Witnesses would testify they laughed about it.

Only when they were "falsely convinced" that the brew, which they had to drink while on their hands and knees, had been urinated into, did they raise objections. The students deny urinating into the broth.

According to the report the objections came six months after the video surfaced on the university's internal student computer network. It was then distributed by two students at the Khayalami men's hostel.

One of the students involved in making the video, RC Malherbe had tried several times to contact the workers to discuss the matter, but was stopped by the National Education, Health and Allied Worker's Union.

In their representations the four say they had not intended to degrade the workers.

Newly appointed UFS vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen announced at his inauguration that the institution had pardoned the four, and that they could finish their studies.

The move drew widespread criticism, causing Jansen to invite interested parties to discuss the matter with university management.

The crimen injuria case against the four students was postponed in the Bloemfontein regional court last month to February 24 2010.

The students' lawyer Christo Dippenaar was quoted as saying the students could not apologise for what they had done before they had received indemnity from prosecution. - Sapa

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