Last thoughts on Jansen, the Reitz 4, racism and reconciliation.

Oktober 23, 2009 in Sonder kategorie

Just read Jeanius’s post on Jansen and the Reitz 4.

Regular readers will know I am all for punishment of bad behaviour. But critics in this case are forgetting a few very important things.

1) Just after the news broke last year, one of the workers told newspapers that the guys always treated them well, even bringing milk, meat and vegetables from the farm. Then, the whole story and vibe changed after the union stepped in. A bit suspect, don’t you think?

2) A disciplinary hearing is kind of a constitutional right, isn’t it? Even murderers get hearings, they don’t just get punished. As a matter of fact, in SA most offenders have more rights than their victims, be it murder, rape, child abuse, fraud or whatever. But these guys apparently don’t deserve at least that. Double standards, methinks.

3) The whole of Reitz was closed down immediately. Now, let’s say there were 10% of students there that didn’t condone the behaviour of the four. Was it fair on them to be kicked out, having their lives disrupted? It’s like saying, for instance, that there were four criminal households in a township, now we relocate everybody. People, I thought we have moved on a bit in SA. See the WHOLE picture for a change!

3) I was on campus for the day of Jansen’s inauguration, and watched interaction between students and staff (all of them of all colours). I wasn’t accompanied by an entourage, but just observed people going about their day. Nobody seeing me there could have known that I was a journo. For that matter, I could have been anybody. Saw a lot of happy people, just going about their own thing. Only heard positive things about Jansen, even from the (black) taxi driver who took me to the airport that night. (See my blog on this on Friday, the actual day of the announcement.) 

4) Jansen at least acknowledged that the system (i.e. university, education, religion, everything,) fail ALL his students when it comes to things like racism (there is a thing like black on white racism as well, remember.) He NEVER said they were NOT guilty, he merely said that in the spirit of reconciliation, they should at least be allowed back SHOULD they want to. (Two of them don’t want to.) Also, the workers are getting compensation and councelling to help them heal the wounds. The university did everything in their means to accomodate these five people over the last year or so.

5) I saw parts of the rest of that video footage this past week on FOCUS (SABC2). For those who haven’t seen it, it looked like great fun was being had by ALL. Drinking beers straight from the bottle, dancing, boeresport etc. I think, as always, CONTEXT is important. If the whole video was showed from the start, the reaction might have been different.

6) Even NEHAWU admitted that that “everybody” knew of that video since November 2007. Why then only air it almost 8 months later? Maybe because somebody had another agenda, and this story served the purpose beautifully.

7)Isn’t RECONCILIATION what the new SA is all about? Jansen is outspoken about the ANC’s weaknesses (and he has always been). If this gesture was made by an ANC-official, the whole country would have been cheering. But, alas, Jansen did it, and not Malema/Madiba/Zuma. (And I am great fans of both Madiba and Zuma’s approach to many things, like reconiciliation, as regular readers would know as well.)

7) Jansen took the decision with the whole of the university board’s approval. (He announced some of his plans for 2010 about six weeks ago at a press conference at which I was present. Some of his plans was not okeyed by the board. So, he had to drop them, even after making them public. I guess the Reitz 4- issue also had to be approved. From what I saw at the inauguration, they are a pretty mixed bunch in terms of race. Why not fry all of them for this, but only the brave man who at least is prepared to tackle a hot pot of serious problems?

8) The race problem at UFS goes much deeper than four misbehaving students (although, once again, I’m once again saying that what they did was wrong, disrespectful and stupid.) So, if true fairness and justice is the aim, then many more people should be expelled. And not only at UFS.

9) It’s a fact that the UFS lost a LOT of sponsorships and financial backing as a result of the Reitz 4. It was even reported earlier this week that the medical faculty in daily’s that is in SERIOUS financial trouble as a result of this. So, should we cripple a whole university and deny many more students (black and white) the right to a good education by keeping the whole issue alive? Sponsors will still be hesitant if they don’t see proof that somebody is working on real changes.

Just like SA’s TRC helped us to heal to a degree (instead of a war tribunal punishing left, right and centre and worsening the issues), hopefully Jansen and all the measures aimed at racism, will heal UFS and make it an example for the rest of the country.  Once again, there are even more serious issues in this country, some of which can be traced back to the very same things Jansen is trying to address.

Or is it not racist to keep on employing incompetent people because of their gender/race or political affiliation while important institutions (like state health and local municipalities) are falling apart?

13 antwoorde op Last thoughts on Jansen, the Reitz 4, racism and reconciliation.

  1. bossk het gesê op Oktober 23, 2009

    Your rants are that of a racist more especially the last sentence. So incompetence solely apply to blacks only huh?I dont hear you saying the rascals must apologise. “fun was being had by ALL”,what the ef?man your ignorance knows no bound!

  2. Ag Khatoni, PLEASE put on your reading hat, especially for the last sentence. Notice the words GENDER, RACE OR POLITICAL AFFILIATION? So, no, it doesn’t mean incompetence is a black thing. It can also be a white thing, an Indian thing, a female thing, a male thing, an ANC thing, a DP thing, and so on and so forth.
    The job should go to the MOST COMPETENT person, regardless of race, gender and politics.
    And, while we are trying to keep things civil, go and watch the fucking video yourself, and you will see, how much the ladies and the one man is laughing and drinking beer. I didn’t see guns being held to their head But until this past week THAT was never shown in public. I always praise if there is praise to be given. Maybe you missed all my positive blogs on Mr Zuma, for instance. So, f* off and stop calling everybody that doesn’t shout racism, racism, all day, ignorant. I am getting quite TIRED of being called a racist simply because I am a white female. Get your facts straight, comrade!

  3. RANTING, by the way, is something people like yourself and Kolobe excell at. The rest of us are trying to DEBATE things. Kind of difficult with you people around (and read into that what you like).

  4. optout het gesê op Oktober 23, 2009

    I think Jonathan Jansen is a man of integrity with well considered opinions and I support his decision to invite these students back to the university. His gesture may go a long way to changing the mindset of those who view every issue in terms of race.

  5. Moonz het gesê op Oktober 24, 2009

    OH very well said Tannemys!!!!

  6. Moonz het gesê op Oktober 24, 2009

    Excellent reporting this… very fair article. HUGS

  7. Hi – I was listening to my wife, yesterday, telling some kids about their initiation when they went to high school and it made the UFS incident look like childs play.

    It seems to me that initiations are quite a big part of Afrikaans school/varsity culture, we as english kids never even knew about initiation.

    If millions of Afrikaans kids are initiated by millions of other Afrikaans kids every year – then surely the initiation given to the cleaners can not be seen as a racist attack, but rather an act of commercial.

    Dont get me wrong, if someone tricks me into drinking their wee, I am going to donner them.

    I agree with the author, that this whole incident was blown for out of proportion and used for political expediency and to further disgrace white people in SA.

    If the focus of the backlash was truly about human rights and human dignity and anti-racism, then where are those same protesters when black offenders are in court for torturing, raping and killing white people. Not even a peep out of them, never mind having demonstrations at court.

    Ja, it was a nasty thing that was done, but it was made even nastier by only exposing certain parts of the video and using it to score cheap political points,

  8. khatoni, stop being a muppet.

    You have blacks protesting about incompetent public officials – who are black; however these people are burning down municipal buildings, looting, preventing people from going to work and other acts of aggression and violence.

    As soon as a person, who happens to be white, simply suggests incompetents – then every black person, with a chip on their shoulder, shouts RACISM.

    Surely by denying a person their right to an opinion and public comment, based solely on the colour of their skin – then that is a far more extreme example of TRUE RACISM, than simply suggesting that a person is incompetent.

    Also, by attempting to use the moral high ground as a position to blast your arrogant and self serving accusations and insults upon anybody that dare suggest that a (black) public administrator is incompetent – further suggests that you do not believe that I a white person has the right to an opinion or comment on a black persons performance.

    As taxpayers and citizens of a so-called democracy, we have every right to make whatever comment or have any opinion about any public administrator concerned.

    For you to cry RACISM (like a snotty little schoolgirl), when a white person makes a comment about a public administrators performance – whilst your have black people burning down public buildings, rioting and disrupting innocent peoples lives – in protest over the same type of incompetence that he author simply mentioned in a very broad context – is racist.

    I am sick of people like you, using every little cheap trick in the book to try and make white people look bad and black people the eternal victims. Get over yourself and grow some cahones.

    Try and learn the true meaning of the word racism, racist, racial intolerance and racial discrimination – before you bleat you sickening insults all over a public forum.

    I guarantee that you will find a far more malicious form of racism, festering inside your heart.

  9. Thanks Big Mouth! I appreciate your fairness in this. Indeed, I was horrified by the initial video-clip. Even outside of a political context, it is a disgrace not to have respect for your elders (of any colour). But, as the court has proved, it can’t be proven that it was indeed urine. Plus, we never saw the rest of the video until this week. Why? The only logical conclusion is that somebody manipulated the situation.

  10. Don’t worry about fools, keep writing, keep pushing for answers and never feel afraid to voice your opinions.

    You will always get people who disagree with you, whether you are right or wrong and you will always get people who just don’t like you, regardless of what you do.

    This BullS*** of whites always having their heritage used against them whenever they catch someone out, is so weak, cowardly and pathetic.

    No matter where I lived and what creed a politician is, if he is stealing my tax money and making my life crap, because he is not doing his job properly – I am going to expose him, call him a thief and want him fired or locked up.

    It’s simple.

    I work flippen hard for my money and I have to be pretty smart and efficient with my finances, just to have food at the end of the month.

    It makes me sick, that some thief is having a party on my cash, when I am sitting here fantisising about a cold Black Label Quart, but don’t have 2 cents to rub together.

    (Then to rub it in, when my tax money does not get used on what it’s supposed to and life is crap for the poor, I get blamed again as it’s my fault that they are poor)

    Be efficient, be smart and be honest with my money or do not take it from me.

    I have no doubt whatsoever that I don’t need you to do anything for me that I can’t do myself.

    I just thank God that black South Africans are such nice people and we have such a wonderful country, that pretty soon there are gong to be very few of these trouble makers and crooks around.

    You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can fool all of the people all of the time….. and do you know what.

    Black South Africans are getting smarter and wiser and more worldly with every generation and they are not going to fall for the same old story.

    When this next generation start working and they realise how much of a persons income goes to taxation and to what degree the cost of living is influenced by political decisions, they are going to be asking the same questions and guess what…… that famous old excuse is not going to work on them.

    Bring it on….

  11. semaj het gesê op Oktober 25, 2009

    Get real South Africa. It has not been proved that urine or whatever was put into whatever and that whoever was “forced” to participate in whichever activity at wherever on the Freestate Campus. This farce is going along at a pace exceeding the Caster debacle that is beyond all belief. Of course it was a result of the previous political dispensation. Balderdash, through and through, pranks are pranks. The ruling party is trying to make it a major issue.

  12. I am still waiting for the 4 guys to apologise to the women though! Everyone seems to be apologetic on their behalf but they are not! It is fine to have initiations among fellow students but not people who are old enough to be your parents!

  13. Hi Madchief. Agree with you about the respect thing. Even it is an initiation thing. Somebody should have realised that that sort of joke can seriously blow up in their faces. Once again, I don’t condone what they have done. Had an interesting private message from somebody who said the students have been trying their best to do so in the press for a long time – editors apparently not keen to publish it. Will pass the lead on to one of my colleagues at a daily.

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