Student race abuse cases ‘disgusting’
UCT launches own probe
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.