UFS starts talks on Reitz Four

The reopening of discussions on the University of the Free State’s decisions to pardon the “Reitz Four” will start on Wednesday.

Chairperson of the UFS council, Judge Faan Hancke, said on Monday the council fully supported vice-chancellor Rector Jonathan Jansen’s efforts to
bring about reconciliation and transformation.

“Professor Jansen’s actions are seen in the light of his efforts to establish reconciliation within the bigger process of transformation.”

Hancke said the council supported all constructive efforts to enhance reconciliation and accepted Jansen’s “integrity and bona fides” in handling the matter.

He expressed hope that all role-players in the matter would come to an agreement, so that normality could return to the Bloemfontein campus. 

On Sunday Jansen invited any interested party to meet university management to table their concerns and try to find consensus on a way forward, following criticism of his decision to pardon the four

Anyone who wanted to be take part in the talks should contact Billyboy Ramahlele on 051-401-2822 to make an appointment.

The four filmed an initiation of five black staff members in 2007. The employees, four women and a man, were seen on their hands and knees eating food which had apparently been urinated into by a white student.

The former students—RC Malherbe, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and Danie Grobler—appeared in the Bloemfontein Regional Court on Monday to face charges of crimen injuria. Their
case was postponed to February 24 2010.

At his inauguration last Friday, Jansen announced the university had pardoned the four and that they could return and continue their studies.

Jansen’s announcement drew criticism, notably from Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande, Cosatu and the ANC Youth League, and praise in the past week.
- Sapa

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