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Stellenbosch University incident 'akin to urinating on the Constitution itself' - Lamola

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Stellenbosch University incident 'akin to urinating on the Constitution itself' - Lamola

Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola
Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola

23rd May 2022

By: News24Wire

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Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola has described Stellenbosch University student Theuns du Toit urinating on a black student's belongings as similar to urinating on the Constitution.  

Addressing the South African National Conference to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the third World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance on Monday, Lamola, said: "The incident at Stellenbosch is one too many in recent months."

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"It is akin to urinating on the Constitution itself. It is done in the year that we are celebrating the 25th year of the Constitution. This type of barbaric incident must be condemned and dealt with accordingly."

The university had instituted disciplinary action against Du Toit amid calls for his expulsion; while the victim, Babalo Ndwayana, opened a criminal case.

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Lamola said white parents were responsible for ensuring they did not raise racist children. 

"We have to appeal to white parents to preach love and diversity in their families. There is no reason for a 21-year-old to be accused of racism in this day and age. This points to the upbringing of this child."

South African Human Rights Commission chairperson, advocate Bongani Majola, in attendance at the conference, said the Stellenbosch incident was worrying.

"The recent Stellenbosch incident makes one worry that the scourge of racism might be moving from overt racism pronouncements of the Penny Sparrow and Adam Catzavelos types, back to the... apartheid-era racism action where people were visited with violence also. This, honourable minister, must be fought with all the energy we have left in us. People cannot afford to go back there. We have said 'never', and it must be never."

President Cyril Ramaposha also touched on the Stellenbosch incident in his weekly Monday message. He said the country needed to have honest conversations about racism.  

"We need frank and honest dialogue between people of different races on the experiences of black people in South Africa, 28 years into democracy. These discussions should be part of the life orientation curriculum in our schools. The arts and culture community should produce content and programming that fully reflects the diversity of the country and the lived experiences of people of all races.

"Greater emphasis should be placed on inculcating tolerance and respect for diversity in the classroom from a young age. Parents should be part of this effort because the reality is that racist, chauvinistic and sexist attitudes among the younger generation are often a reflection of what they observe and learn from their parents and older relatives at home."

Lamola said the Constitution was important for all South Africans.

"Our Constitution is a social contract that binds all of us. Some amongst us, especially some of our white citizens, have not bought into the society we are trying to construct. Some of them continue to perpetuate this racial supremacy or racist tendencies. Those who continue to insist on brandishing symbols of oppression undermine this diversity the country is trying to build."

In May, AfriForum took the Equality Court decision banning the apartheid flag to the Supreme Court of Appeal. The organisation argued that banning the flag stifled free speech and could end up festering if driven underground.  

Brandishing symbols of apartheid, Lamola said, denied the harm caused by it. 

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