Unisa. picture: Thobile Mathonsi/ANA
THE two black women at Unisa who complained that the white professor was racist were actually the perpetrators of harassment, bullying, abuse of power and intimidation of junior staff members, said a group of academics at the institution.

The group of professionals of different races - including black - claimed the women had charges laid against them by junior staff members, but the university had been reluctant to deal with them because the alleged perpetrators were black.

Last week, the women told the media that the white professor, who the Pretoria News opted not to name, was racist and aggressive.

They alleged he made their lives miserable on campus.

One of the woman claimed she was harassed and suspended by the professor, but later won a case at the CCMA and was reinstated.

However, the academics now allege the woman did not win the case on substance, but rather due to a technical issue.

“It must be noted that the professor accused of racism had not played any part in initiating any disciplinary against the complainant. He inherited the case from the previous executive director when the directorate was moved

“The woman had already been suspended and thus the professor had nothing to do with this case whatsoever. Any insinuation that he did is a lie,” the academics said.

The group said it did not understand why the Black Forum and the EFF student command demanded the professor’s removal from the university on allegations of racism during protests at the main campus last Tuesday. They stated that they were confused because the two organisations had in fact engaged with people who claimed to have been badly treated by the two women.

Unisa has meanwhile invited the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to intervene and help resolve racial conflicts at the institution. University spokesperson Martin Ramotshela said all these complaints formed part of submissions by stakeholders at the hearings.

“It is the university‘s view that the commission must be given space to listen to and interrogate all submissions.

“It must then make a determination after listening to all sides.

“We cannot pre-empt the outcome of this process,” he said.

The next session of the hearings has been scheduled for May 7, 8 and 9, and staff members have until April 18 to make submissions.