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Stellenbosch University promises to investigate racism as rape accused granted bail

20 May 2022

A petition calling for the alleged perpetrator's expulsion has been created.

Stellenbosch University has promised to set up an inquiry investigating allegations of racism, among other things, at the institution.

This week, the university has been making headlines after it suspended first-year law student, Theuns Du Toit, on Monday, following an apparent racially-motivated incident.

Students vented their frustrations during a protest at the campus on Thursday, during which Stellenbosch’s rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Wim de Villiers, reassured the crowd that racist behaviour would not be tolerated.

“It remains our main priority to provide an inclusive environment for all students and maintain a safe student community where social cohesion is promoted to provide quality tertiary education for all,” de Villiers said.

De Villiers promised that an external commission of inquiry would be set up to investigate racism and the overall university culture.

“The rector will set up an external, independent commission of inquiry into the incidents of racism and harassment at the university and will be headed by a respected judge,” he said.

The vice-chancellor further indicated that a hotline to report such cases would be created.

“It remains our main priority to provide an inclusive environment for all students and maintain a safe student community where social cohesion is promoted to provide quality tertiary education for all,” de Villiers said.

De Villiers promised that an external commission of inquiry would be set up to investigate racism and the overall university culture.

“The rector will set up an external, independent commission of inquiry into the incidents of racism and harassment at the university and will be headed by a respected judge,” he said.

The vice-chancellor further indicated that a hotline to report such cases would be created.

In a separate incident, racist remarks were made allegedly toward a female student at last week’s law faculty dance, EWN reported.

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has also indicated that it had received two complaints and has started its own investigation regarding the alleged racism incidents.

‘Rape’ incident

A student at the university was arrested for rape on Thursday morning after a 19-year-old girl reported the incident to the police.

According to the police, the rape occurred at around 10:30pm on Wednesday at a residence on Victoria Street in Stellenbosch.

The 18-year-old alleged rapist has since made his first appearance at the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court. The case was postponed to 29 June for further investigation.

The accused – who is facing two counts of rape – was granted R1,000 with conditions that he must not be in contact with the complainant, according to National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) Western Cape spokesperson, Eric Ntabazalila.

The university said on Thursday that it would suspend the student from his residence “pending further internal and criminal investigation by law enforcement authorities”.

“It must be noted that this is now a criminal matter and the law will run its course,” the institution said.

Source: The Citizen

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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