Parliamentary statement regarding the socalled 'Reitz Four" by Mr Ntopile Kganyago, MP - UDM Education Spokesperson (27 October 2009)

The UDM notes with concern the manner in which the issue of the so-called “Reitz Four” is being handled by certain people and organisations.

As we noted when this issue was first exposed, the disgraceful and barbaric acts committed by these four young men was highly offensive to our sensibilities as a nation. They showed an utter disdain for the dignity of people who were their elders and acted in a manner that was both racist and sexist. The UDM also pointed out that there was general agreement amongst most South Africans about the despicable nature of this incident.

In this we should be united, jointly in our diversity, to face a case such as this and show in our united behaviour that racism and sexism and intolerance of any form is not the way of the new democratic dispensation.

Since then the rector of the university has announced that these men will not be punished forever by the institution. Of course this has no bearing on the criminal prosecution process that is under way. Whether the Professor Jansen’s announcement is acceptable is open for debate, but the reaction has been vitriolic.

The UDM is disappointed people from the ruling alliance who claim to be campaigning against intolerance are showing such unadulterated intolerance against Professor Jansen, culminating yesterday in one such spokesperson talking about “shooting and killing”. I’m sure we’ll hear again about being quoted out of context. The trouble is that instead of showing a mature and tolerant democratic attitude, the situation is being abused for short-term political grandstanding.