PASMA and COPE@Tuks have accused UP of racism. This has led to the formation of a Facebook group named Tukkies The Racist.
PASMA and COPE@Tuks have based their allegations of racism on UP’s language policy. “For as long as Afrikaans is still recognised in this institution, students of the university should not succumb to the notion that every ethnicity or race group is treated equally,” said COPE@Tuks Chairperson Thabo Mdlalose. Mdlalose believes Sepedi should also be offered to prevent one race group from being more advantaged than the other.
PASMA Chairperson Pule Mokoena said that every student should have the opportunity to be taught in their mother tongue but that they should have to pay extra for this. “It becomes very unfair if an Afrikaans student must pay the same as a black student and be taught in Afrikaans,” said Mokoena.
According to UP Management tuition is presented in Afrikaans where it is economically viable. All lectures are presented in English but not always in Afrikaans.
Mokoena has alleged that in 1999 and 2000 UP Management instructed lecturers to purposefully fail black students. Mokoena said that several lecturers have come forward and will testify to this, but would not reveal their names. “We want to let management know that [they’ve]done this to black students in the past and we will not let it continue,” he said.
UP Management described this allegation as “devoid of all truth.” “Contrary to the allegation, the University of Pretoria prides itself on being an inclusive institution with much to offer in transforming our society.” All students have the right to peruse their test and exam scripts and are entitled to query the results if dissatisfied. UP Management told Perdeby that a campaign to enhance inclusivity is currently underway.
An invitation to a demonstration in response to UP’s alleged racism, sent out by PASMA, labelled UP’s admissions policy as racist. According to the invitation the admissions policy is 60/40. 60% of admissions should be white and 40% should be all other races and international students. According to UP Management this is incorrect and admissions are based on performance rather than race. Management said that in 2012 48% of students were black.
A demonstration was held by PASMA and COPE@Tuks on 13 November to inform students about UP’s alleged racism. Pamphlets were handed out on 12 November to bring the issue to the attention of students. Mokoena said that approximately 60 people attended the demonstration and that “it was the beginning of bigger things.” According to Mokoena those who attended marched around the student centre to gather students before various parties spoke.
AfriForum Youth Chairperson Barend Taute said, “I have not seen any evidence of the university advising professors to fail black students, but AfriForum Youth most certainly condemns any form of racism, if it does exist.”
According to VF Plus Chairperson John-Pierre Erasmus, VF Plus is against racism but he feels this campaign labels only whites as racist. Erasmus believes the campaign will incite intolerance towards Afrikaners on campus.
In the Facebook group Tukkies The Racist, Abuti Elmond Magedi, PASMA Provincial Chairperson, said “AfriForum and VF+ must look for their nearest exit when we take charge of UP. [These] two demons want to keep former Afrikaans Institutions of Higher Learning exclusively white.”
Erasmus said “It is clear from Mr Magedi’s posts that he himself strives for the total annihilation of Afrikaans on campus.”
According to Mokoena “it does not end here.” He told Perdeby that a bigger demonstration will be planned for next year.