University deceived minister: claim

Blade Nzimande. File Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Blade Nzimande. File Picture: Nigel Sibanda

The North West University (NWU) misled Higher Education and Training Minister Blade Nzimande on its transformation progress, the department said in a statement yesterday.

It was responding after a photograph of the institution’s first- year students dressed in uniforms, marching in unison like troopers allegedly doing the “Heil Puk” Nazi-style fascist salute during an orientation activity at its Potchefstroom campus were published in Beeld on Friday.

“With the latest reported incidents of first-year students’ initiation, it is clear that the university misled the minister in 2010 when reporting progress on transformation in their response to the Task Team on Transformation’s report,” the statement issued by department spokesperson Kefilwe Makhanya said.

The university had since apologised for the incident, saying it distanced itself from the captured gesture. It said “the gesture should in no way be construed as a Nazi salute, but that it was used purely as a way of greeting by a small group of residences, with no ulterior motives whatsoever”.

The NWU said later yesterday a meeting with the university’s council had been scheduled for March 5, when the recent incidents would be discussed.

“Details of the steps to be implemented by the NWU in reaction to the recent events will be announced after the council meeting,” the university said.

The department, however, said: “Had the incident shown in Beeld been committed clandestinely by a few students, the university could be forgiven, and as such could have been considered as an isolated incident.

“In the recent reports, however, the activities were carried out en mass and even streamed through YouTube for the world to see. As such, this incident is manifestly part of a common practice that … is accepted by both the university management and council,” the department read.


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