Reitz case postponed to February 2010

The Bloemfontein Regional Court has postponed the crimen injuria case of the so-called Reitz Four to February 2010.

State prosecutor Ben Mulutsi on Monday asked the court to postpone the matter to consider representations made by the defence which were received on Wednesday October 21.

“I must admit the representations have put pressure on the prosecution,” he said.

Mulutsi said the state had no option but to consider the representations and needed more time.

Chief magistrate Mziwonke Hinxa said although a final remand was made previously, the court was not a “canon which fires irreversibly” and due to the new aspects to the matter, the postponement was granted to February 24 2010.

RC Malherbe, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and Danie Grobler are accused of humiliating five black staff members at the University of the Free State (UFS) in an initiation-type ceremony which they filmed.

The four women cleaners and a man are seen on their hands and knees eating food which had apparently been urinated into by a white student. The students also express opposition to the university’s integration policy in the video.

Newly appointed UFS rector Jonathan Jansen caused a stir last week after announcing that the institution had pardoned the four students, and that they could finish their studies if they wished to do so.

Two of the students have already completed their studies, but two others are now planning to return to campus.

The move drew widespread criticism, causing Jansen to issue a statement on Sunday inviting “all stakeholders inside and outside the UFS ... to meet with the university management to table their concerns and to try to find consensus on a way forward”.—Sapa

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