Maties council comes under fire

By Ilse Fredericks Time of article published Dec 4, 2015

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Cape Town - The Stellenbosch University council should explain whether it agrees with council member Piet le Roux’s views on transformation, the spokesman for Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande says.

On Monday, the council withdrew a decision to appoint a committee to investigate Le Roux’s conduct and remarks.

In September, Le Roux caused a stir on Twitter when he tweeted: “Blade Nzimande en #transformanie gaan nie wen nie. Ondersteun die Afrikaanse Alumni-vereniging (Blade Nzimande and transformania won’t win. Support the Afrikaanse Alumni Association).”

At the time, Nzimande’s spokesman, Khaye Nkwanyana, hit back at Le Roux on Twitter: “It is with utmost (sic) regret that there are still people like you in SA who have not yet crossed the rubicon of 94.”

In September, the council acknowledged Le Roux’s constitutional right to his opinions, but distanced itself “from his public pronouncements, which contradicts the council’s official position”.

It also mandated a committee to investigate Le Roux’s actions and pronouncements.

Shortly after Monday’s decision to withdraw the investigation against him, Le Roux repeated his views, on Twitter.

“Die US-Raad het vanaand die ondersoek teen my herroep. Oorwinning vir academiese vryheid. So, hier’s dit weer: #DownWithTransformania (Tonight the SU council withdrew their investigation against me. Victory for academic freedom. So here it is again: #DownWithTranformania).”

But Nkwanyana told the Cape Argus that the council would have to indicate “did they agree with these insults”.

On Twitter he said: “The council of @StellenboschUni will have to tell us that by absolving @pietleroux in his conservative ways, is it because they share views.”

University spokeswoman Susan van der Merwe said the council had withdrawn its decision to appoint a committee because its stance to distance itself from Le Roux’s conduct and pronouncements had been clearly stated publicly.

Le Roux told the Cape Argus he had used the word “transformanie” (transformania) to distinguish it from transformasie (transformation), “which can also be interpreted positively, depending on what one means by it”.

“Unfortunately, transformation as driven by the department of higher education has taken a particularly destructive form, under which it is rigidly insisted that every organisation in the country, universities included, should reflect the national racial demographics and, by extension, become an English institution.”

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Cape Argus

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