SAHRC plans interventions on two campuses
“Reports of violent act of racism between students and workers of the University of the Free State and the University of Pretoria” are to be investigated by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
It said in a statement that it applauded “efforts and initiatives that both these universities are taking to address racism in their campuses‚ and other issues‚ including language policies and transformation”.
But‚ it added ‚ “these incidents highlight a broader need for the systemic challenges of racial divisions that exist in some of the country’s institutions of higher learning‚ and in society in general”.
Spokesperson Isaac Mangena said the SAHRC had on its “own initiative” opened a probe “into the chaos…and is planning to visit University of Pretoria to see how we can intervene”.
“We urge the institutions to work together with student bodies to expedite resolutions on transformation‚ language policies and race relations‚ among others.”
Mangena said the commission would‚ before the end of June‚ issue the findings and recommendations of the “National Hearing into Transformation in Institutions of Higher Learning” it conducted last year.
“This hearing focused on identifying the factors that sustain racism in our universities and measures that can be undertaken to create better levels of racial cohesion and tolerance‚” he said.
Mangena added that March 14 and 15 would see the SAHRC’s “multi-sectoral dialogue on racism as part of its 20 year anniversary conference”.
“This dialogue aims to emerge with a Declaration to eradicate racism in all its forms‚” he said.
“This declaration will be signed by all stakeholders as a commitment to collaborate to fight racism in all its modern permutations.”