Maties incident a sign of stalled transformation agenda - MPs

Maties incident a sign of stalled transformation agenda - MPs

Some members of Parliament have described the racial tensions at Stellenbosch University as a sign of stalled transformation.

More protests seem to implode at Stellenbosch after latest racism
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This after a parliamentary committee sat on Thursday to consider the report on Higher Education, Science and Innovation following an oversight visit to Stellenbosch University earlier in the year.


Just three months post the visit, Maties was again thrust into the spotlight when a video surfaced showing first-year student Theuns du Toit urinating on Babalwa Ndwanya’s belongings.


Du Toit has since been suspended pending an investigation. He also faces criminal charges of malicious damage to property and crimen injuria. 


ANC MP Nompendulo Mkhatshwa said she suspects du Toit’s behaviour was enabled by the university’s culture.


“If we do not allow for the natural make up of these institutions as per the demographics they are microcosms of then we will have incidents like where Theunis thought it was okay to urinate over his fellow black student’s belongings because perhaps Theunis thought the University of Stellenbosch exists in isolation to the rest of democratic South Africa where he thought his racism would perhaps be accommodated.


“It must be our collective interest as communities to be assured that these institutions are indeed serving the public interest of harnessing young people who when they enter our communities as graduates will be able to contribute to the strengthening of the continuous journey of social change.”


Mkhatshwa added among the report’s recommendations is the need to reconsider language policies at institutions.


“That means we need to eradicate a culture of whiteness in historically privileged institutions and ensure that these institutions are safe spaces and inclusive spaces.


“There was also an agreement that we don’t seek to eradicate Afrikaans, in the ANC we speak of inclusivity but we need to make sure that in the higher education space we are diverse enough and inclusive enough in terms of the language of learning to accommodate the different representation of students in this space,” said Mkhatshwa.


The EFF’s Naledi Chirwa added that the stats on race and gender in management at the institution are worrying. 


“His [Du Toit] act was a confirmation of what his institution thinks of black people, as beings not worthy of respect, humanity or dignity.


“There is clearly not intention by this institution to be African.”


Meanwhile, Good MP Brett Herron called on speedy action to be taken to ensure transformation.


“The lesson for all of us is that transformation plans are worthless if they are not translated into fundamental change.”


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