Jansen’s dilemma

Pity the University of the Free State (UFS) vice-chancellor, Jonathan Jansen. In trying to chart the way forward in the Reitz Four saga, his every move is being criticised.

Jansen decided to drop disciplinary charges against the four — who had gone to great lengths to manufacture a racist video — in the interests of reconciliation. The four still face crimen injuria charges, which will be heard in February 2010. Howls of outrage greeted the move, with the Ministry of Higher Education saying the decision was insensitive and that it had not been consulted.

Meanwhile, the vice-chancellor received support from an unexpected quarter on Thursday in the form of African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema.

Malema said after meeting Jansen on Thursday that the vice-chancellor was “one of our own” and that he could not be fed to the enemy.

Malema said as a youth organisation, the ANCYL could not stand in the way of students who wanted to return to university, but disciplinary steps should then be taken against them.

“They must apologise and show remorse when they come back,” said Malema.

He said the league agreed with Jansen that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission-like process should be instituted at the university.

Malema also said he agreed with Jansen that the institution was still racially divided.

This is a time for cool heads. Jansen — whatever your view on whether the students should have been invited back — has made titanic efforts to transform the university.

Pravin Gordhan
New Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan was widely lauded by parties across the political spectrum this week for his positive budget.

Thabo Meeko
ANCYL Free State leader Meeko said earlier this week that UFS vice-chancellor Jansen should be “shot like a criminal” for pardoning the four makers of a racist video.

Most-read stories

October 22 to 28 2009

1. Secret report reveals Chuene’s plotting
In a bombshell report the doctor of the South African athletics team, Harold Adams, has accused Athletics South Africa (ASA) boss Leonard Chuene of deliberately politicising and sowing confusion in the Caster Semenya gender test saga.

2. Why Mbeki’s right-hand man quit
This week respected government policy head Joel Netshitenzhe stepped down amid a restructuring of the Cabinet that appeared to strengthen the hand of the left.

3. The rise and fall of Anele Mda
Think back to this time last year. The political landscape was a different animal altogether. Former African National Congress (ANC) heavyweight Mosiuoa Lekota had just served “divorce papers” after a bitter leadership struggle left the party divided.

4. Malema falls short in nationalisation debate
Noticing that the debate on the nationalisation of the mines did not take off as well as he hoped it would, African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) president Julius Malema took it upon himself to organise a debate on the issue this week.

5. Jackie Selebi’s big gamble
Six months ago the corruption charges against President Jacob Zuma were dropped after secret tapes of telephone conversations intercepted by South Africa’s intelligence services mysteriously landed up at his attorney’s office.

6. ‘Wait until the first child dies’
African National Congress veteran Kader Asmal this week publicly attacked Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula over the latter’s call for the militarisation of the police. Sello Alcock asked him to elaborate.

7. 2010: A safety-first approach from the Germans?
Germany’s 2010 World Cup stars were reportedly warned on Wednesday to expect to wear bulletproof vests if they venture away from the team hotel at next year’s tournament in South Africa.

8. Transforming economy means ‘tough choices’
Debt will have to rise to pay for floundering state-owned entities, exchange controls have been eased and inflation targeting looks set to stay, for now.

9. Zuma says Malema a ‘leader in the making’
President Jacob Zuma has praised youth firebrand Julius Malema as a good leader worthy of “inheriting the ANC”, the Star newspaper reported on Monday.

10. Riding the gravy train
A biweekly newspaper distributed free to hundreds of thousands of Metrorail passengers belongs to the African National Congress Youth League’s (ANCYL) treasurer general, Pule Mabe.

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