EFF wants University of Pretoria renamed University of Tshwane ‘to stop racial tension’

AfriForum Jeug plastered ‘No Whites Allowed’ and ‘Blacks Only’ stickers at the entrances of the University of Pretoria campus. Picture: X

AfriForum Jeug plastered ‘No Whites Allowed’ and ‘Blacks Only’ stickers at the entrances of the University of Pretoria campus. Picture: X

Published Oct 13, 2023


Pretoria - The EFF in Tshwane has called for the University of Pretoria (UP) to be the University of Tshwane “to stop racial tension”.

Speaking to Pretoria News yesterday, the red berets’ regional chairperson, Obakeng Ramabodu, said a process of renaming the university had to start with immediate effect.

“We have come to realise that this country is still plunged in racial tension and to defuse the racial tension we must move with the times and change names of our facilities that remind us of the apartheid era.

“This racial tension is caused by names like the University of Pretoria … this causes the public to think the university belongs to the Afrikaner.”

Ramabodu added that the name carried a history of oppression and that was why the Afrikaner people felt they had the right or entitlement to the institution.

“If we call this a democratic state we need to be conscious of such things because it reminds us of a bad history.

“We must get rid of these samples of apartheid. These monuments that we have all over the city are a thing of the past and belong in a museum or to be thrown in the dustbin of history. When we say transformation, then we must really be transformed,” he said.

Ramabodu said a normal application process had to take place in order for their call to be considered.

“This process must not be like a spaza shop. We need to go through a proper process where we do public consultations. Like we did with the Sefako Makgatho University which is the former Medunsa.

“We can’t have an institution where the majority of the students are black, but still carry a name like University of Pretoria,” he said.

The EFF was recently at loggerheads with UP relating to student politics after eight EFF Student Command SRC candidates were disqualified by the university’s Independent Election Monitoring Board following accusations of violating the election rules.

This prompted Ramabodu to lead a picket outside the university, reportedly blocking some students.

The Pretoria News last week reported that the DA Student Organisation had reported Ramabodu to the SA Human Rights Commission and called for the removal of the EFF’s regional chairperson for interfering in student politics.

Established in 1908, UP is one of the oldest universities in the country boasting a massive history.

To change the name, the EFF would have to apply to the South African Geographical Names Council, established in terms of the South African Geographical Names Council Act as the body responsible for standardising geographical names.

On Wednesday, the DA formally lodged a complaint with the SAHRC requesting it to urgently investigate the EFF Student Command after it reportedly denied “white students” access to the institution.

The call was also extended to UP’s interim Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Themba Mosia, to urgently intervene regarding the seeming escalating racial tension at the institution.

This is despite the youth wing of civil rights organisation AfriForum claiming responsibility for a public relations stunt that caused a huge uproar at UP’s Hatfield campus on Monday.

AfriForum Jeug plastered “No Whites Allowed” and “Blacks Only” stickers at the entrances, saying they were forced to take drastic measures to put the spotlight on what they called racial exclusion and the university’s double standards.

According to the DA, social media platforms have raised concern that white students are denied entry onto campus at the university.

In a statement, UP said it appreciated concerns raised and valued “the commitment to maintaining a peaceful and inclusive environment for our students and staff”.

The statement read: “It is important to clarify that the racial tension observed is primarily instigated by a small group of individuals, many of whom are not part of our university community. These individuals often have their own political agendas, which do not reflect the sentiments of the vast majority of our students and staff. The majority of our academic community is dedicated to their studies and not interested in engaging with external political agendas.

“It appears that the individuals are associated with two groups, each with conflicting agendas, both vying to involve the university in their pursuits.

“As of now, investigations into the two incidents – the protest action and the sticker incidents – have not uncovered any student involvement.

“However, if evidence emerges implicating students in these events, the university will address the situation in accordance with its code and procedures, regardless of their affiliations.”

The university said both of these activities occurred outside its premises, and thus fall under the jurisdiction of the police, and both organisations have been reported to them.

“The university’s primary concern is to maintain a stable and secure environment for its students and it refuses to become embroiled in the disputes between these organisations.”

The university said it strongly condemned any form of protest activity that disrupted academic progress, especially as students were gearing up for their exams. “We reaffirm our commitment to upholding academic excellence, inclusivity and diversity”.

Pretoria News