Stu­dent race abuse cases ‘dis­gust­ing’

UCT launches own probe

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - CARLO PETERSEN

WO COURT cases of racial vi­o­lence im­pli­cat­ing Univer­sity of Cape Town stu­dents have left the in­sti­tu­tion’s vice-chan­cel­lor, Dr Max Price, seething.

Price has writ­ten a scathing let­ter to UCT’s Stu­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Coun­cil in light of the in­ci­dents that have caused a na­tional out­cry and left a Khayelit­sha taxi driver and a Ma­nen­berg cleaner vi­o­lated and trau­ma­tised.

In the let­ter, he terms the in­ci­dents as “dis­gust­ing and ab­so­lutely un­ac­cept­able be­hav­iour”.

“In the first in­stance, it must be stated cat­e­gor­i­cally that UCT ab­so­lutely, ut­terly re­jects racism, vi­o­lence and dis­crim­i­na­tion of any kind.

“There can never be a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for such be­hav­iour and we will fight it tooth and nail where it oc­curs. We will bring our strong­est dis­ci­plinary sanc­tions to bear on any­one found guilty of such be­hav­iour,” Max said.

One case in­volves Chad de Matos, 19, Aaron Mack, 20, and Mitchell Turner, 20, charged with at­tempted mur­der, as­sault with in­tent to do griev­ous bod­ily harm and crimen in­juria after cleaner Delia Ado­nis was bru­tally at­tacked and racially as­saulted in front of her teenage son in Clare­mont last month.

Two other men linked to the as­sault are in East London and will re­turn when the case re­sumes on Fe­bru­ary 5.

De Matos is a stu­dent at UCT.

The other case in­volves Dja­van Ar­rigone, 19, a firstyear Bcom stu­dent at UCT, who al­legedly uri­nated on taxi driver Michelle Puis Nomg­cana, from the bal­cony of the Tiger Tiger night­club in Clare­mont in Jan­uary.

Ar­rigone has been charged with as­sault and crimen in­juria and was due in court to­day.

Yes­ter­day, Ado­nis and Nomg­cana were at Wyn­berg Mag­is­trate’s Court, where De Matos, Mack and Turner ap­peared for a bail hear­ing.

The ac­cused were granted bail of R1 000 each and the case was post­poned to Fe­bru­ary 5 for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ado­nis said: “I’m happy that

Tsome of them are on trial, but I’m still in pain and feel shaken.” Nomg­cana, who was at court to in­quire when Ar­rigone would be ap­pear­ing again, said: “I don’t even feel like talk­ing about it. I’m so angry. It’s shame­ful what this guy did to me.”

Max fur­ther stated: “It is painful hear­ing the al­le­ga­tions of what can only be termed as dis­gust­ing and ab­so­lutely un­ac­cept­able be­hav­iour.

“Any UCT stu­dent who is guilty of this be­hav­iour does not be­long in UCT.

“Racism and vi­o­lence serve to break down the vast ef­fort made by good South Africans across the board (many of them among our stu­dents and staff) who work tire­lessly to cre­ate a more just, fair and tol­er­ant South Africa.

“UCT is very aware that on our cam­pus, as in ev­ery other space in South Africa and, in fact, the world, racism (of all per­mu­ta­tions) con­tin­ues to play it­self out.

“The anger of UCT and the pub­lic fol­low­ing th­ese al­le­ga­tions is un­der­stood, jus­ti­fied and nec­es­sary be­cause it will force change.

“UCT will never hide or pro­tect a per­son who makes them­selves guilty of such be­hav­iour,”’ Max added.

“As UCT be­came aware of the two sep­a­rate in­ci­dents, we started in­ves­ti­gat­ing the al­le­ga­tions im­me­di­ately.

“This process in­cluded tak­ing state­ments, vis­it­ing the sites, work­ing with the po­lice, work­ing with the business own­ers in­volved, in­ter­view­ing wit­nesses, talk­ing to the fam­i­lies and con­sult­ing le­gal ex­perts.

“We un­der­stand the frus­tra­tion of the pub­lic, and im­me­di­ate ac­tion against those in­volved would be so much eas­ier. But, it will not be wise or just.

“Again, we stress that as ab­hor­rent as the al­le­ga­tions are, a fair and just process must be al­lowed to run its course.

“So, please be as­sured that we are act­ing on th­ese mat­ters and will con­clude them in a fair and just man­ner and as speed­ily as pos­si­ble.”

UCT spokes­woman Gerda Kruger said the univer­sity was es­tab­lish­ing the facts of both mat­ters and was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the al­le­ga­tions.

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