Mcebo Dlamini, the student leader who claimed he admired Adolf Hitler, has laughed off a decision by Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib to remove him as president of the SRC.
Dlamini said Habib’s decision showed he had “succumbed to pressure from the white community”.
Habib wrote to students on Monday, saying he was changing his decision that Dlamini remain in office pending the outcome of an appeal against a previous guilty verdict.
Dlamini was found guilty earlier this year of misconduct by a disciplinary panel and was banned from campus for a year. That sentence was however suspended.
‘Element of Hitler in every white person’
He then posted on Facebook last week that: “I love Adolf Hitler … There is an element of Hitler in every white person.”
Dlamini subsequently defended his comments to a number of media houses and refused to apologise.
“If white people can say they love [apartheid-era prime minister DF] Malan, [prime minister BJ] Vorster, [Israeli Prime Minister] Benjamin Netanyahu and Jan van Riebeeck, then I should also be allowed to say I love Hitler,” Dlamini reportedly said.
Habib said in a statement on Monday that his decision that Dlamini step down was in relation to a separate matter of misconduct and was not related to his “admiration for the fascist leader, Adolf Hitler, and what I believe to be racist comments regarding whites”.
“I would also like to make it categorically clear that I believe that these comments violate the fundamental values of Wits University and that Mr Dlamini has brought our institution into disrepute,” Habib noted.
Dlamini said only Wits students could decide his fate.
“I did not put myself in office. I was voted there by masses of students,” he said.
Habib said as someone who claimed to love Wits, “I believe that Mr Dlamini has single-handedly wrought more damage on its reputation than any other person who I can think of in at least the last two decades.”
Habib said that the decision to remove Dlamini as student leader had been a difficult one.
“Even if one is elected by popular vote, one’s behaviour must be in accordance with the values of the collective,” he said.
Dlamini said Habib’s decision proved his weakness.
“I see a powerless man. A man who contradicts himself,” he said.
Dlamini said that he felt for black students at Wits.
Acting SRC president Shaeela Kala said the SRC will meet and plan a way forward.
“We will make a decision and vote on it within the next 10 days,” she said.