Cape Town - The legal team representing Stellenbosch University student Babalo Ndwayana, whose belongings were urinated on by white fellow student Theuns du Toit, has said there were elements of bias in the disciplinary hearing over the incident.
Ndwayana and his legal team walked out of the disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, citing lack of objectivity. His father, Mkhuseli Kaduka, said they believed the process was “flawed”.
“I don’t think the outcome of this will be just.
“As you might have heard, Babalo was denied (permission) to have his team of people there to support him and observe the process.
“Meanwhile, Du Toit was supported by his father and an attorney.
That is why Babalo walked out of the hearing,” he said.
Stellenbosch University spokesperson Martin Viljoen said the Central Disciplinary Committee (CDC) was an independent and objective, but closed, committee constituted of experts in line with the university’s student discipline code.
“Neither the composition, nor the confidential internal proceedings are open to outside influence or speculation, in the interest of the rights of all involved. Mr Ndwayana’s legal representatives made an application for observer status last week in terms of the provisions of the disciplinary code.
“The application was declined within the rights of the CDC. At the start of the hearing, Mr Ndwayana’s legal representatives attended and again requested observer status. The chairperson decided to allow a special compromise for both Mr Ndwayana and Mr du Toit to have one observer each during the hearing.
“It should be noted that Mr du Toit’s application for his father to sit in as an observer was also initially refused. The university considers details surrounding the hearing to be confidential. The CDC will consider whether the findings will be made public,” he said.
Although the hearing ended on Thursday, Viljoen said the committee wasn’t able to provide an outcome yet.
“They will take time to consider the evidence and provide a written outcome. A date for when this process will be completed is not available yet.”
Du Toit also faces a criminal investigation after Ndwayana lodged a complaint against him.
Kaduka has previously expressed concern about the “slow pace” of the police investigation.
Du Toit was suspended from the university after a video of him urinating on Ndwayana’s study material went viral on social media.
In the video, Du Toit can be heard saying “It’s a white boy thing” in response to Ndwayana’s question about his actions. Unisa Law Clinic principal Nomonde Gxilishe, representing Ndwayana, said: “We have noted misleading reports that claim our client disrupted the hearing by walking out.
We take this opportunity to dismiss such misleading news and confirm that he did not interrupt the meeting.
“We put it on record that he walked out because he felt the panel was not impartial.
“Therefore, we will be approaching the university to request the reconstitution of the panel and that an external panel be appointed.
“Part of that request will be that it is in the best interest of justice that the hearing commences de novo.”