The family of Stellenbosch University student Theuns du Toit at the centre of the urination row face fresh controversy after a picture emerged of his brother brandishing the banned old South African flag.
While police are still investigating a slew of charges against the first-year law student, a photo showing his older brother, Pierre, proudly holding the contentious flag has come back to bite the family.
In the picture, Pierre is seen with three others holding the flag and grinning widely. A relative told Weekend Argus the picture was taken in December.
The picture has raised eyebrows as Du Toit’s father Rudi, a wine farmer from Worcester, in a previous news report called for a reconciliation meeting with fellow student Babalo Ndwayana’s family. His son was caught on camera urinating in Ndwayana’s room, on his desk and belongings, in the Huis Marais residence last month.
The video went viral on social media and the university suspended Theuns.
In 2019, the Equality Court ruled that the gratuitous display of the old flag, in private and public spaces, was a form of hate speech. The old flag could only be displayed for “genuine artistic, academic or journalistic expression in the public interest”.
The court found that the constitutional right to freedom of expression “does not extend to” advocacy of hatred based on race. Because the display of the old flag amounts to hate speech, it is not constitutionally protected speech.
On Friday, Stellenbosch University announced that retired Justice Sisi Khampepe had been appointed as commissioner to conduct an independent inquiry into allegations of racism.
The Du Toits grew up and went to school in the Boland town of Worcester.
Pastor Hans Steyn, who recently retired from the Worcester Vallei NG Kerk, said the photograph was deeply unsettling and does not bode well with the ethos of the town and its community where the Du Toits live.
“It’s not necessary to wave the old flag, we have a beautiful new flag,” he said.
“We have a new flag that reunites and reconciles people and I think it is the most beautiful flag in the world,” Steyn said.
The Weekend Argus gave Pierre a right of reply, but instead he blocked the reporter on WhatsApp and declined calls.
His father, Rudi, also refused to comment.
Civil rights organisation AfriForum’s deputy head, Ernst Roets, said the issue should be dealt with on its respective merits. AfriForum recently approached the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein to oppose the blanket banning of the display of the flag.
AfriForum said it challenged the court ruling even though the organisation itself does not display the old South African flag.
“The banning of the flag set a dangerous precedent that anything causing offence can and should be banned, even if there is no call for violence or to cause imminent harm,” the organisation said in court.
Judgment in this matter has been reserved.
Theuns’ uncle, Marius “Bankies” van der Bank, told the Weekend Argus last week: “It’s a very difficult situation, very difficult.
“Theuns is not a racist, his parents did not raise him like that,” he said, adding that Du Toit was heavily inebriated at the time of the Huis Marais incident. “We all know that he was drunk, but a racist? No. The media blew this thing out of proportion.”
“If someone peed on my belongings, I would’ve m**red that person,” Van der Bank said.