MAXINE TWADDLE

Both the Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO) and AfriForum Youth are taking steps to remove racial quotas at the University of Pretoria.

According to DASO chairperson, Thorne Godinho, DASO will hand in a report regarding the removal of racial quotas in the university’s admission policy to the university. This report is an adaptation of a similar one handed over to the University of Cape Town management by DASO’s UCT branch. According to Godinho, DASO’s “aim is to try and influence university policy.” Acknowledging that this may be difficult to achieve, Godinho said that he hopes students will assist in pressurising UP to change the current quota system.

“The best case scenario is that we are able to remove any racial quotas,” said Godinho. He added that it was unnecessary to “disadvantage some students to create a better university.”

The report points to international universities which it says employ more effective admissions policies.

The report alleges that “race-based admissions policies institutionalise victimhood,” and states that, “excluding race from the criteria ensures that those whom society should reasonably expect to compete do so, and learn to navigate themselves in the world, on the basis of their skills, talents, and hard work.” Godinho hopes that DASO will succeed not only in its attempt to remove racial quotas from Tuks, but also to “put an end to race politics at Tuks.”

“There is a place for all of us at Tuks,” he said, “and DASO will counter any organisation on campus which promotes division and advances racial nationalism.” In another attempt to remove racial quotas from University policy AfriForum Youth met with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation’s (UNESCO) South African commission, on 4 April.

AfriForum Youth submitted a detailed proposal containing alleged discriminatory practises in the admissions policies of South African universities. AfriForum Youth requested that the commission approach UNESCO to meet with the governmental Department of Higher Education with the view of amending race-based admission into tertiary institutions.

AfriForum Youth National chairperson Charl Oberholzer said in a statement that, “The current policy on admission requirements at the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Veterinary Science … does not comply with international conventions, which the South African government ratified in 2000.”

According to the statement, issued the same day as the meeting, “The commission indicated that the proposal was acceptable, and that the process would be pursued immediately.”

Section 26 of the United Nations (UN) Manifesto states that the opportunity for higher education must be available to all people and based solely on merit.

“Certain admissions processes at universities exceed the limits of fairness, and equality, and, in terms of our own Constitution, government has to comply with those conventions which it endorsed,” said Oberholzer.

COPE@TUKS does not support the university’s current quota system either, Chairperson Thabo Mdlalose told Perdeby. He said that COPE@TUKS advocates an equal racial quota (that is, out of every two students accepted, one is black, and one is white), “as long as it is in line with the high academic standards of this institution, and acknowledges inequalities of the past.” According to Mdlalose, if Tuks alters its racial quota system, it “ensures that it admits the best students into the university.”

South African Students’ Congress (SASCO) chairperson Tokologo Ngakane told Perdeby that, “Turning this issue [of admissions] into a race matter is not going to take us anywhere; the issue is coming up with a policy that is going to work for everybody, regardless of race and financial position.”

UP was unavailable for comment.

See the report handed in to UCT management at pPerdeby748e.

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