Chair must recuse herself – AfriForum
CIVIL rights organisation AfriForum has urged chairperson Thoko Mkhwanazi-Xaluva to recuse herself from hearings on De Goede Hoop, the Afrikaans-only students’ residence in Sunnyside, Pretoria.
The Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities is conducting hearings after receiving complaints about the hostel, used by University of Pretoria students.
AfriForum’s Kallie Kriel said the call for MkhwanaziXaluva’s recusal was in order for the hearings to be conducted in a fair, unbiased and transparent manner.
Kriel represented the residence, and said that from the outset, they requested a legal representative to be able to explain how the procedure would be conducted, but this was not done.
He said that upon walking into the place where proceedings were taking place with University of Pretoria representatives, the chairperson reacted extremely aggressively and even threatened to remove him.
“I was found guilty of transgressing the law for just knocking on the door. I didn’t just barge in as it is alleged.
“All we want is for the hearings to proceed in a transparent manner, but I feel that the chairperson exuded a bias towards us,” Kriel said.
Social activist Yusuf Abramjee alleged that Kriel barged into the hearings and that all the chairperson did was to request that he leave as he was breaking the law.
“Following the warning by the commission that criminal charges would be laid against Kriel for storming into the university’s presentation, AfriForum then requested the chairperson to recuse herself, which was refused,” said Abramjee.
“AfriForum was unable to answer repeated questions on how many black, Indian and coloured students were staying at the residence. Its representatives said they did not do racial classification.
“But I said ‘not a single one’; all 66 students staying there are white.”
Commission spokesperson Mphiyakhe Mkholo said there was no basis for the chairperson to recuse herself as per Kriel’s request, and she would not do so.
Mkholo added the commission had no comment as proceedings were still under way.
Abramjee lodged the complaint on March 23 with the commission, a month after the residence came into existence. He claimed its existence went against the constitution.
“One cannot have a residence for the exclusive use of one race group only. Other race groups are clearly being deprived, and the policy is simply a disguise to say whites only,” reported Abramjee when lodging the complaint.
University spokesperson Candice Jooste previously dismissed any association between the university and the residence.
“The De Goede Hoop residence is a private facility and not associated with the University of Pretoria in any way.
“We do not support or condone the practices of private residences with discriminatory acceptance criteria,” she said.