They were charged with attempted murder, assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, and reckless and negligent driving. According to Times Live, Dumane Gwebu, a fifth-year economics student, was admitted to hospital last week Monday after he was attacked on his way home from campus. It is reported that the perpetrators ran over Gwebu in a bakkie and when he confronted them later on, they assaulted him. The assailants had allegedly tried to drive over three female students before they hit Gwebu. The accused allegedly continued to call him a “k****r”.
“It is clear that I am penalised for being black. Their intention was to kill … now they are out,” Gwebu told reporters outside court. He said that at UFS being called a k****r is common.
Gwebu continued to say that he did not understand why Muller and Blom attacked him. He criticised the justice system for releasing the pair on a warning. “Messages like this mean that students will continue to live in universities surrounded by racism,” he said.
The vice-chancellor of UFS, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, told the media that that the motive for the attack may very well be racist but that they do not know this for sure yet. “It is so sad and disappointing that, after so much progress with the social transformation of the university, such a horrific incident could have occurred,” Prof. Jansen told Times Live. He added that, if found guilty, in the criminal investigations against them, the two students would not be permitted to continue to study at the university.
However, it is reported that students at UFS are not surprised by the attack. They maintain that for the past two weeks there have been isolated incidents of racism at the university and that management has been sweeping them under the carpet.
The UFS SRC has demanded action within 14 days. Phiwe Mathe, the SRC president of UFS, told Eusebius McKaiser on Power FM that they will march to the vice-chancellor’s office this week to submit a memorandum demanding that the matter be dealt with effectively. “Not much has been done and the non-racism project hasn’t been achieved. The university took two days to respond to this incident,” he said.
Muller and Blom are set to appear in court again in April.