University of Pretoria in new race row over ‘black cancer’
PRETORIA — A University of Pretoria student has fellow students at the institution up in arms after calling some black students a cancer to society and endorsing US presidential candidate Donald Trump as “Emperor” in a student WhatsApp group.
The student has since read out an apology to the class.
The racist tirade started after a student, who has not responded to News24 requests for comment, posted a message on the Third Year Civil Engineering students WhatsApp group in Afrikaans. Other students on the group asked if all communications could be in English as others did not understand Afrikaans.
The request sparked a flurry of responses with the student, Lourens Van Niekerk, taking it a step further.
“Omg all the blacks who agree with that potato who thinks everything should be English are a cancer to this society. You are all ignorant . . .male oppressors,” Van Niekerk posted.
“This is why Trump is the God Emperor of mankind. He sees right through you. Stop taking everything for granted and blaming whites. Our privileges have been earned. I’m over this shit. Cheerz”
Attempts to contact Van Niekerk for comment on Thursday failed.
The message irked other students in the group. The matter was escalated to the head of department Professor Wynand Steyn.
However, Tsholanang Mabiletsa, who is part of the WhatsApp group, said the issue was not treated with the seriousness it deserved.
“The professor made him apologise in class but Lourens read from a paper and we couldn’t even hear him. The professor [then re-read it on his behalf] and said whoever is not happy can send him an e-mail,” she said.
News24 has been given a recording of the proceedings of the day when he offered the apology.
Steyn started off by informing the students that he had held a discussion on the issue seeking advice from people on how best to handle the matter.
“We have discussed the seriousness of the offence and they agree that it’s serious and unacceptable. Everybody I spoke to agrees that one should get this to conclusion and we can’t leave it like that,” he told the students.
Steyn further indicated that he had held discussions with Van Niekerk and he would apologise to the class. Van Niekerk read out his apology but others complained they couldn’t hear him. — Sapa