No evidence racial slurs uttered in UFS 'racism' incident - SAHRC

Isaac Mangena says Commission was unable to verify Damane Gwebu's allegations in this regard

The SA Human Rights Commission has completed its investigation in relation to a racially motivated incident at the University of the Free State. Student Damane Gwebu was allegedly ran over by two white students before allegedly being called derogatory names (see original Times report).

After careful review of the information gleaned from the investigation, the SAHRC was unable to find any corroborating evidence to make a conclusive finding of racism and violation of human rights.

The victim placed heavy reliance on hearsay and the his three witnesses could not corroborate his version of events relating to the alleged racial remarks.

We should remember that the victim momentarily lost his consciousness after he was hit by the car and did not hear any racial utterances.

The issue before us was whether there was indeed a racial remark which sought to demean the victim and on the basis of the above, we couldn't come to a conclusive finding that there was a violation of human rights.

It is worth noting, however, that our investigation solely focused on the alleged racial utterances and not the subsequent assault which is the subject of a dispute before a court of law.

Statement issued by Isaac Mangena, SAHRC spokesperson, September 4 2014

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