Chair must re­cuse her­self – AfriFo­rum

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - GOITSEMANG TLHABYE

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.

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