KEVIN VAN DER LIST
Kiaat’s house committee meeting was cancelled on Tuesday when the ANCYL and SASCO disrupted proceedings.
The house meeting was scheduled after an allegedly racist poster surfaced in the residence late last week.
According to SRC President Mthokozisi Nkosi, the meeting was intended for the SRC, Kiaat residents and the Director of Residence Affairs and was originally scheduled to either suspend the current clubhouse committee or to disband it.
Nkosi said that the ANCYL and SASCO “hijacked” the meeting and that some of the concerns they raised were valid, but questioned the manner in which they conducted themselves.
Nkosi told Perdeby the house meeting was organised for Kiaat to voice their concerns to the SRC. According to Nkosi, the ANCYL and SASCO said, “It’s no longer a house matter ? it has now become a national issue.”
A statement released by the ANCYL on Monday expressed their “utter disgust” with what they called a “barbaric and racist recruitment” of the Kiaat clubhouse committee.
Timothy Ramabulana, ANCYL Chairperson, said, “The poster affects all of us as black people and students at large and [it’s] not an issue exclusive to Kiaat, [the] SRC or Residence Affairs.” COPE@Tuks Chairperson Thabo Mdlalose said that the ANCYL spoilt any chance of a successful meeting. “This meeting could have been productive and progressive, but due to the opportunistic behaviours of the Youth League, the meeting bore no fruits.”
Thorne Godinho, Tuks DASO branch leader, said that the ANCYL actions were an “unsatisfactory way to deal with the real issue of race.”
AfriForum Youth Chairperson Barend Taute said, “It is important that residences are allowed to handle their own matters without the interference of political parties.”
Last week Monday, Perdeby reported that UP had opened an investigation into the poster. The poster called on Kiaat residents to perform menial chores in order to join the clubhouse committee. These chores included cleaning toilets and the clubhouse. It also stated that “candidates have to be black.”
According to UP Senior Media Liaison Officer Nicolize Mulder, the poster was removed. “Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the university will discipline any student that acted in contravention of the university’s policy for the prevention of unfair discrimination based on race,” she said.
Professor Ernst van Eck, Kiaat’s house father, told Eye Witness News that the poster was “all a misunderstanding.”
“We are trying to make the clubhouse committee more representative of all the different cultures. White people will wash the toilets with them (the black applicants),” said Van Eck.
The ANCYL has called for the resignation of Prof. Van Eck “who allowed all this to happen.”
The SRC released a statement on the matter last week Tuesday saying, “As the SRC it is our view that the poster [at] face value unfairly discriminates residents on the basis of race.” Despite the intentions cited by Prof. Van Eck, the SRC believes its context was “extremely disrespectful and degrading” to Kiaat’s black residents. Nkosi retracted the statement on Tuesday evening after the meeting and issued a second wone that Thursday. The latest statement urges “all residents of Kiaat and the entire student populace to give [the] commission of inquiry the opportunity to come up with its findings.”
Mdlalose said that, “The architect of the poster should step down from any position of authority, undergo disciplinary process and make a public apology to the student community.”
Godinho said that the poster was “disturbing” and “whether [the poster] was malicious or not, students must start being sensitive to the issue of race.”
Perdeby was unable to get a comment from any Kiaat residents regarding the matter.
Another meeting regarding the poster will be held on 17 September.