Jonathan Jansen must apologise! - ANC

Jessie Duarte attacks new UFS rector for calling Angie Motshekga "lazy and incompetent"


Dear Professor Jansen

The history of the struggle for liberation in South Africa has shaped many people to become politically engaging, vibrant and committed to progressive change.

Among those behind that change is Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga - an activist with a positive track record of having committed herself to the transformation of our education system.  Her academic background - from the University of the North and the University of the Witwatersrand - where she obtained her Masters Degree is in Education make her quite suitable in the current position she holds.

As activists, she was an executive committee member of the National Education Union of South Africa and conducted research on the methods to undo the long-term impact of Apartheid Education on young people. She has dedicated her life in the service of developing our youth. Angie Motshekga is a firm believer in a non-racial, nonsexist and united South Africa.

Unwarranted and misplaced insults leveled at her by University of the Free State (UFS) rector and vice-chancellor Professor Jonathan Jansen - writing RECENTLY in The Times - cannot go unchallenged (see article).

Of course, we know that Professor Jansen is a learned man.  That is, he is a recognised academic and has written books about reparation and reconciliation.  In our society, we have learned the hard way through the misogynistic approach of the highly educated academics that acclaimed Apartheid never existed.  It appears that Jonathan Jansen belongs to this ilk.

He has insulted the Minister of Basic Education in a manner reminiscent of the utterances made by the Apartheid ideologues of the old order.  How often did we not hear, African people in particular being described as "lazy and stupid" by well educated professors with internationally recognized credentials?  This is a description illustrative of ignorance and prejudice.

The Free State University Council - perhaps hopeful that he would become a champion of reconciliation in a university beset with racist tendencies - selected him for an appointment as rector and vice-chancellor.

Instead, in the very speech he makes to the community, his utterances indicate, that despite his academic demeanor, he may well exacerbate the racial tensions, which manifested itself when he belittled and insulted women of the stature of the Basic Education Minister.

We demand from Professor Jansen nothing less than a public apology to Minister Motshekga.

Education has remained the main area of political perversion of our country for decades, and transformation of education institutions is ANC's key priority.  We advise Professor Jansen to note that we will continue to maintain a high level of interest in the transformation of UFS, one of the areas in which he is charged to play a meaningful role. In the same vain, we remind him that UFS is not a private institution, but one subsidised by the ANC-led Government with a keen interest in transformation.

Transforming the UFS is not an option any of us have.  We owe that to all the students who are there today and who will attend the UFS in the future. We are committed to ensure that tendencies that suggest racial hatred and disrespect for the basic tenets of our country's Constitution are banished to the dustbin of history in all institutions of learning and anywhere else in our country.  UFS does not belong to Professor Jansen, but belongs to the people.  He is a mere servant of the people.

For his insults to the Minister, Professor Jansen should apologise publicly!


Issued by the African National Congress, July 17 2009

Click here to sign up to receive our free daily headline newsletter