'Kick out RACISTS'

SOME white students at the University of the Free State, where cleaners were made to eat food the students had urinated on, still refer to blacks as "kaffirs".

SOME white students at the University of the Free State, where cleaners were made to eat food the students had urinated on, still refer to blacks as "kaffirs".

A first-year student at the JBM Hertzog Residence said he had overheard two seniors at the residence.

He quoted them as saying: "Xhosas sal nooit teen Zulus veg nie. Kaffers is baie stupid en onnosel. Dis hoe 'n kaffer is. 'n Kaffer sal liewers 'n witman doodmaak. Hy sal nooit 'n ander kaffer doodmaak nie. Dis dom."

Meaning: "Xhosas will never fight Zulus. Kaffirs' are stupid and would rather kill a white man."

The university confirmed that the three students implicated in the racists remarks were being investigated.

In another incident, a white student announced over the intercom that: "Die kaffers is fokk*n dom," meaning "kaffirs are f.ing stupid".

Angry first-year students have distanced themselves from the residence's activities because of the incidents.

Head of student affairs Rudi Buys said investigations started last week after a written complaint. But Buys said the racist comments were not made by students but by visitors to a university residence.

Last year disciplinary charges against four white students - whose video humiliating black workers sparked an outcry - were withdrawn.

The video, filmed in a former whites-only hostel, showed five black workers taking part in initiation-like rituals that included kneeling to eat food that a student had urinated on.

The charges were dropped by Jonathan Jansen, the first black rector and vice-chancellor of the university.

The South African Students Congress (Sasco) has called on the University of the Free State to take tough action against racist students.

The process includes a disciplinary investigation and a repeat of an existing diversity programme in the residence for senior students, as well as a stereotype-reduction workshop for first-year students in addition to existing first-year developmental programmes.

Buys said: "I am encouraged by the commitment and initiative of student leaders of the residence as well as all members of the residence to get rid of discrimination and to continue with the successes already achieved in building unity between students from diverse backgrounds."

About the diversity programme, one of the students said: "The meetings are specifically aimed at first-year students.

"The meetings started last month and there is more compromise and understanding from both sides."

Sasco general secretary Lazola Ndamase slammed the university for not doing enough.

"We are angered and betrayed by the leadership of the university. We thought now that we had the first black leader at the university things would be better. Meetings will not resolve racism. What we need is action - suspend racist students."

Meanwhile, University of the Free State spokesperson Lacea Loader said the Human Rights Commission would make proposals about the university's obligations.

Loader said the university had neither suspended the students concerned nor withdrawn the charges.

"These charges are matters dealt with by the courts, and remain within the jurisdiction of the courts until the matter is eventually heard," Loader said.

The crimen injuria case against the four former students will go to trial in Bloemfontein in July after it was postponed by the magistrate's court in January.