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AfriForum Youth slams UP over apathy around EFFSC UP’s incitement to violence and hate speech

AfriForum Youth condemns the University of Pretoria’s (UP) failure to take action against the EFF Student Command (EFFSC UP), a registered student association, who are guilty of hate speech. AfriForum Youth on 19 April sent a letter to Prof. Caroline Nicholson, registrar of the UP,  to demand that action be taken against the EFFSC UP. The letter provided damning evidence of a letter in which the EFFSC UP threatens other students on campus with words that, according to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), are incitement to violence and hate speech. However, the UP failed to act in any way.

The EFFSC UP was fuming after the management of student accommodation in the Hatfield Square put regulations in place to ensure that men and women can enjoy privacy when using the bathroom facilities. They turned it into a racial issue by blaming “racist white girls from Erika” for the “criminalisation of black men” who lives in the same building as them. The EFFSC UP, in addition to several racist statements, cited the controversial statement – which landed Malema in court once again – as a threat in an e-mail on 12 March: “I am not scared of killing. A revolutionary is a walking killing machine. If a need arises, I will kill, especially in defence of my people.”

“It is unacceptable that the University of Pretoria fails to act against students who are guilty of hate speech and endanger the safety of other students. There are clear double standards maintained at universities. Strict action must be taken against any student who incites violence and the university management must fulfil their responsibility to ensure the safety of all students and tackle these types of offenses with the necessary seriousness,” says René van der Vyver, spokesperson for AfriForum Youth.

Julius Malema, leader of the EFF, will face SAHRC on 26 February 2024 for the same statement in the Equality Court regarding the incitement of violence and hate speech during his speech in the Western Cape on 16 October 2022.

AfriForum Youth launched a petition in June, after its Tuks members’ concerns about this matter went unheeded, which resulted in several complaints from students being sent to the UP registrar’s email address. Afterwards, the youth organisation was informed that the registrar’s office had already referred this case to the Transformation Office in April to be investigated.

“There is a defining silence from the UP, although AfriForum Youth asked almost five months ago how action was taken against the EFFSC, as well as that the EFFSC UP should be deregistered as a student association. The obvious conclusion is therefore that the UP is apathetic about hate speech that is specifically committed by the EFFSC,” concludes Van der Vyver.