Statement by the Study Group on Higher Education and Training, Science, and Innovation on racism at the Stellenbosch University

19 May 2022

The African National Congress Parliamentary Caucus Study Group on Higher Education and Training, Science, and Innovation is outraged by the perpetual emergence of the ugly head of racism at the University of Stellenbosch.  The inhumane treatment by the white student who urinated on another student’s belongings who is black with resistance and no shame, demonstrates that our path of national reconciliation and social cohesion will continuously be diverted by institutional cultures which embrace discriminatory practices.

We wish the student who experienced this act great strength and call on the university to ensure the student is provided with various support to enable him to transcend this experience and continue with his studies without any impairment.

We welcome the suspension of the student, but far-reaching consequences should be taken to communicate non-tolerance to racism and it not belonging to any of our higher education institutions. The response of the University of Stellenbosch should be a thorough transformational process which acknowledges covert institutional racism which is embedded in various institutional cultural practices in residences, sports, the academia, and in its staff relations.

The university continues to reproduce its skewed demographic structure through its enrollment which enrolled only 39% first years from historically disadvantaged South Africans, while 61% of the first years enrolled are white students. This is a systemic reproduction of dominance. The same trend is reflected in the middle management of the university and the university's plan does not intend to transform this situation in the medium term.

We call on the University of Stellenbosch to undertake a paradigm shift which enables the university to position itself as a South African institution which promotes diversity and embeds an institutional culture which addresses institutional racism.

ISSUED BY THE ANC STUDY GROUP ON HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING, SCIENCE, AND INNOVATION

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