THE four female cleaners at the Rietz Residence of the University of Free State, who were humiliated by four students in 2007, are each demanding R1million in compensation.

Last week the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) lodged the claim in the equality court on the women's behalf.

RC Malherbe, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and Danie Grobler are accused of filming a mock initiation of five black staff members into hostel activities. The students videotaped four Reitz cleaners eating meat that had apparently been urinated on.

Last year university rector Jonathan Jansen withdrew disciplinary charges against the four white students behind the racist incident.

SAHRC spokesperson Vincent Moaga said they demanded that the students jointly pay R1 million damages to each of the women.

They also want the students to be ordered to apologise to the women and all black people. The apology has to be approved by SAHRC.

Moaga said they were also demanding that the students be declared guilty of unfair discrimination by act and omission, by the making of the video, by the internal dissemination of the video, by allowing the video to be publicly disseminated and by failing to take appropriate remedial and punitive measures pursuant to it.

The SAHRC also wants the university to present a plan that ensures that remedial measures are put in place to:

l Support the cleaners;

l Prevent a recurrence of the incident at the university generally and at Reitz Hostel in particular; and

l If the UFS readmits any of the four students, it must ensure they attend training on a diversity and racial-integration programme to be agreed with SAHRC .

The matter will be heard in the Bloemfontein equality court on July 27.