Stellenbosch University: Black students made to feel sub-human - ANC Parliament

Office of Chief Whip says it is disgraceful that the institution remains an enclave of white supremacy and apartheid culture


25 August 2015

The ANC in Parliament is outraged by a video documentary that went viral on YOUTUBE, in which black students detail how they continue to be subjected to racist practices by white staff members and students of the University of Stellenbosch.

In the video, Black students share gut-wrenching personal experiences of institutionalised racism, discrimination and harassment they continue to suffer purely on the basis of their skin colour. The students are made to feel unwelcome at this previously White only institution of higher learning.

At this University, it has become normal for whites to refer to Black students with a K-word, for Black students to be physically harassed and verbally abused without any protection or intervention from the University management, for Black students to struggle against being forced lectures in Afrikaans that they don’t understand, and for Black students to be regularly made to feel subhuman.

It is disgraceful that more than 20 years into our democracy, Stellenbosch University remains an enclave of white supremacy and apartheid culture, where young people in the new free South Africa suffer the same indignity experienced by their forebears.

We view this serious allegations of racism and discrimination in a very serious light and we condemn them in the strongest terms possible. Such practices are not line with the spirit and principles of our democratic Constitution, particularly its Bill of Rights, which prohibits inequality and discrimination.

We express an unequivocal solidarity with the Black students at the University of Stellenbosch. We will spare neither strength nor effort in ensuring that transformation at all our institutions of higher learning is speeded up – including ridding institutions like Stellenbosch University of the demon of apartheid practices and all associated discriminatory practices.

More than two decades into our democracy, transformation cannot no longer be negotiable. It is unacceptable that the students of Stellebosch University today are made to suffer the same abhorrent conditions the students in apartheid South Africa had to deal with in 1976.

The alleged practices of racism at Stellenbosch University have no place in our free and democratic society.

We will ensure that the relevant parliamentary oversight structure, in this case the Higher Education portfolio committee, urgently looks into the matter to get to the bottom of the allegations of racism at the institution. The committee must investigate these disturbing allegations, meet all relevant stakeholders and report back to the National Assembly. The report of the committee would guide Parliament regarding how to intervene decisively to arrest the situation.

We believe that the conditions under which these students are forced to live at that University, as well as other similar conditions previously reported at other former white-only institutions, must be investigated by the SA Human Rights Commission to ensure a long-lasting interventions are imposed on these institutions to change their disgraceful practices.

Statement issued by the Office of the ANC Chief Whip, August 25 2015