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UNIVERSITY RACE ROW

AfriForum Youth placed ‘No Whites Allowed/Blacks Only’ stickers on Pretoria campus ‘to highlight racial exclusion’

AfriForum Youth placed ‘No Whites Allowed/Blacks Only’ stickers on Pretoria campus ‘to highlight racial exclusion’
This notice was put up at the University of Pretoria's Hatfield campus. (Photo: Supplied)

AfriForum Youth placed ‘No Whites Allowed’ and ‘Blacks Only’ stickers at the University of Pretoria’s main campus amid what the DA views as ‘escalating racial tensions’ on the campus.

On Tuesday, the University of Pretoria (UP) condemned an “irresponsible public relations stunt” by members of AfriForum Youth who affixed racist stickers at UP’s Hatfield campus.

The youth organisation took responsibility on Monday, 9 October, after UP issued a statement that it would take disciplinary action against those responsible.

On Tuesday, UP spokesperson Rikus Delport declined to comment on the internal disciplinary process.

Delport said AfriForum Youth was not a registered UP society and the organisation had not been participating in any of the university’s activities.

He said their stickers advocated racism in an institution of higher learning dedicated to the education and transformation of SA.

“The university is firmly committed to upholding the principles of non-discrimination and diversity. We have evidence of the people responsible for defacing the university’s property and are in discussions with the police to take the matter forward,” Delport said.

These stickers were put up at the University of Pretoria’s Hatfield campus. (Photo: Supplied)

‘Why we did it’

AfriForum Youth said on Monday that stickers were pasted at the entrances on campus to highlight racial exclusion and the university’s double standards.

“This protest action follows after EFF members prevented white students from gaining access to the campus on 27 September. On that day, EFF members shouted, among other things: ‘Only black students!’ AfriForum Youth has already sent several letters to the university demanding the deregistration of the EFF Students’ Command (EFFSC) as a student society. The university simply refused to respond,” the statement read.

Neither the EFFSC nor EFF members responded to Daily Maverick’s questions on Tuesday.

The EFFSC held a picket last month after its candidates were disqualified from elections for allegedly contravening this year’s students’ representative council rules.

AfriForum Youth claimed that the silence with which UP greeted their letters forced their frustrated members to take a new approach to get answers from the university.

The stickers, the organisation said, unleashed a huge debate within a few hours.

Then, they said, UP management reacted quickly, condemning the incident and threatening to take action.

“It is shocking that the university reacts so quickly and heated to a protest against racial exclusion on their campus, while those who are guilty of actual racial exclusion bear no consequences for their actions,” the statement read.

Louis Boshoff, a campaign officer at AfriForum, said the contrast between the two incidents speaks volumes.

“AfriForum Youth will continue to apply pressure for the deregistration of the EFFSC, and continue to demand that the perpetrators of that incident be held accountable, as the university has now proven they are capable of responding quickly,” Boshoff said.

He claimed students were intimidated by the EFFSC on campus and excluded because of their race.

“In the meantime, the university washes its hands in innocence, but when there is a protest action that highlights this behaviour, Tukkies takes lightning-quick action and threatens disciplinary action. This is highly suspicious,” Boshoff said.

A sticker put up at the University of Pretoria’s Hatfield campus. (Photo: Supplied)

Enter the DA

DA MP Chantel King issued a statement on Tuesday saying she had lodged a complaint about the EFFSC’s alleged attempts to bar certain students on campus.

In the statement, King called on UP interim vice-chancellor and principal Professor Themba Mosia to urgently intervene “regarding the seeming escalating racial tension at the institution”.

UP’s Delport said the university would continue to educate its community about the importance of diversity, tolerance and respectful behaviour through workshops, seminars and awareness campaigns.

“Our counselling and support services are available to those who may be affected by these incidents. We encourage anyone who needs assistance to reach out to us, and we are fostering open dialogue among students, faculty and staff to promote understanding and unity,” he said.

AfriForum Youth and EFFSC saga

Earlier on Monday, AfriForum Youth issued a statement on its website, which stated that it would continue to put pressure on UP management to deregister the EFFSC as a student society.

This, the organisation said, comes after the EFFSC took part in hate speech, intimidation and denying access to campus for students who are not black.

“The university management cannot distance themselves from this incident. Some of their students were harmed by this and some of their students were involved in this racist incident. Tuks does nothing and this forces us to ask the question: Is it the UP’s position that only black students are welcome on campus? Or will they finally take action against the guilty parties and deregister the EFF Students’ Command?” said René van der Vyver, a spokesperson for AfriForum Youth, in the statement.

An AfriForum Youth petition, the statement said, already has more than 4,000 signatures and calls for action against the EFFSC.

The organisation said this has been a controversial matter and that UP’s acting dean of student affairs, Dr Willem Jorissen, rejected posters they wanted to display, which displayed information on what they claimed were the university’s alleged racist policies, last week because the posters apparently bordered on racism, while the university management wanted to distance themselves from the EFFSC alleged racist incident of 26 September.

‘UP racist’

A similar statement was issued by AfriForum Youth last week claiming that UP had admitted that their policies were racist and they wanted to withhold information about these supposedly racist policies from their students.

The organisation prepared the posters to expose the findings of an AfriForum Youth report that the alleged racial policies at UP have far-reaching implications.

In March, AfriForum Youth sent all 26 public universities in SA an application in terms of the  Promotion of Access to Information Act to get clarity on their racial classification policies.

The organisation said answers were detailed in a report that examines the elements of non-racialism at these institutions and policy proposals were made by the youth organisation to ensure that the university policies are truly non-racial.

AfriForum Youth wanted to highlight supposed UP policies such as that prospective students who do not want to classify their race during the application process will have their applications considered incomplete, as well as the fact that the UP has 10 policy documents that refer to race.

‘UP not racist’

Responding to the organisation’s statement on Monday, Delport said, “It is essential to clarify that our university is committed to upholding the principles of non-discrimination and diversity. It is important to understand that our country’s laws mandate the collection of racially related information as part of admission requirements for statistical purposes, aimed at ensuring equity and inclusivity in education.”  

This practice, he said, was required from all universities and was not indicative of a racist policy but rather aligned with the nation’s commitment to addressing historical injustices.

“Our university is an integral part of this effort, striving to create an inclusive and equitable environment for all. We encourage constructive dialogue and engagement to address concerns about racial issues, and we remain committed to fostering an atmosphere of respect and understanding within our institution,” he said. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Steve Davidson says:

    Neo-Apartheid?

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    I really think the focus should be on confirming publicly whether it is true that students having marks which should qualify them access to the institution are being denied it.

    This should be easily established, and if found to be true, the causes should be investigated and made public in an open and honest way, and reviewed with the aim of ensuring that as little of our youth talent as possible is failed by our country’s education system while at the same time uplifting our poor.

    South Africa needs better skills, and more skills. And we should all be working together to harvest the best of the best from our young crop.

    • Hidden Name says:

      Of course – that ratio needs to be considered in the context of intake quotas as well, which do feature rather strongly. Sadly, too many ill prepared kids wind up in university for 1 year as a result – never pass anything and just rack up debt and broken dreams. Its a MASSIVE problem when you don’t use merit as the primary selection criteria. Worse still are the huge numbers of kids utterly failed by the dept of Education – they simply are not ready, and their racial classification has no part to play in that, nor is it their fault at all. A tragedy in full flight, which groups like the EFF are only too happy to take advantage of. Irony is that the intake quotas are intended to help – but all they really do is harm.

    • ttps://afriforum.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/The-status-of-non-racialism-at-South-African-universities-with-PAIA-request.pdf

      Page 14 of UP’s Undergraduate faculty brochure of 2024 states:
      “Designated ethnic groups are interpreted in terms of the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998 and
      include black Africans, Coloureds and Indians.”

  • Steven D says:

    What is UP’s answer to the EFFSC’s actions of last week? Will UP be taking any disciplinary action against the EFFSC?

  • R S says:

    The speed of the reaction of the university to stickers Vs the speed of the reaction of the university to students being denied access speaks volumes.

  • Vas K says:

    Whatever was the intent, the students actually hit the nail on the head: whites being now second class citizens has now been institutionalized in the neo-apartheid system. You can try to justify it as much as you want, racial classification and exclusion is Racism, pure and simple.

  • Matthew Quinton says:

    Smart, poignant and tongue in cheek protest.

    No wonder it wasn’t acceptable.

    I cant’ help but laugh/cry… It was only a generation ago that we openly protested at university for an end to apartheid. Ah yes, the good old days when an intelligent discourse was allowed. The days when universities were the place where controversial opinions were allowed to be expressed, and intelligent objection was celebrated.

    I reckon SA could never produce another Pieter Dirk Uys. He would be necklaced.

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    Students getting up the authorities noses is nothing new nor is noisy campus debate. Maybe what SA really needs is more universities if qualified students can’t find places to take them. How many new universities have been provided since 94? People failed by the school system need serious effective help too. This is a serious national problem not just a blight on the future of individuals.

  • Paul T says:

    Is “no whites allowed” a racist poster if erected by a white person? Ironic, yes, protest art, yes, racist, I don’t think so.

  • Ian McGill says:

    It’s shameful that one section can use race as a dividing tool. Has SA not had enough of this in the past? It’s all part of the myth of the evils of colonialism, that conveniently forgets the positives. The infrastructure built to modernise South Africa. Otherwise, SA would be like Malawi, Eswatini or Lesotho.

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