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Free State students to face court over race video

The four former students of the University of the Free State (UFS) who made a video that dumped the institution into a racial storm will have their day in court, the director of public prosecutions confirmed on Wednesday.

The video sparked a national and international outcry.

It depicts a mock initiation of five black staff members into hostel activities and refers openly to the university’s integration policy for campus residences announced in 2007 and implemented this year.

Among others, it features black university employees on their knees eating food that was apparently urinated upon by a white student.

The home-made film ends with the words: ”That, at the end of the day, is what we think of integration.”

Medupe Simasiku, communications officer at the directorate of public prosecutions in the Free State, said the four Reitz men’s hostel residents will be charged with crimen injuria.

Simasiku said the acting provincial director of public prosecutions, André du Toit, had decided that the men — Danie Grobler, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and RC Malherbe — should be charged in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court.

”No court date has been set yet and no prosecutor has been appointed,” he added.

The four women and one male worker who can be seen in the video will also testify in court.

The UFS closed the doors of Reitz at the end of last month as a result of the video, saying the building will be changed into a venue housing an institute for diversity.

Students living at the hostel were relocated, a university spokesperson said at the time.

”The hostel will be converted into an institute-for-diversity centre, which will address issues of racism, sexism, xenophobia and reconciliation,” said Lacea Loader. — Sapa

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