Disheartening racial allegations against UNISA lead to a 3 day public hearing by the commission

Disheartening racial allegations against UNISA lead to a 3 day public hearing by the commission

- UNISA reaches out to Human Rights commission to conduct an extensive inquiry on the College of Law

- A three day public hearing is currently being held in Pretoria at UNISA’s main campus

- Lecturer, Kgaugudi Morota states to the commission: 'You will hear sad stories'

The University of South Africa, widely known as UNISA, has reached out to the SA Human Rights Commission to look deeper into the allegations of racism‚ sexism‚ harassment and unfair discrimination in its College of Law by conducting an extensive inquiry.

Mandla Makhanya, Vice-Chancellor‚ stated last year that the SAHRC must intervene and assist in defusing current racial tensions within the faculty of law. A staff member then went on to file a complaint which raised red flags on racism and harassment. learnt that black academics shot back‚ accusing the College of Law to be a white supremacy where black academics are overlooked for promotion’s‚ transfers and academic appointments.

A three day public hearing at was held by the commission at the universities main campus in Pretoria on Tuesday. Written submissions along with verbal testimonies from current and former staff members were taken into account.

A counter complaint of a racial nature was filed by Professor Melodie Labuschaigne ‚ alleging that her black colleagues were blocking her appointment as dean of the faculty because she was white.

Buang Jones, commissioner for the Gauteng province, chaired the hearing. Consideration of the institution’s Employment Equity policy and the process of the policy formulation, among other aspects, will be taken into account. The policies will be scrutinized to determine whether they are in line with the Constitution‚ the Bill of Rights and the Employment Equity Act.

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Jones said the SAHRC has received heaps informative information that will determine the way forward.

“We are constitutionally bound to investigate allegations that come before us that have to do with the violation of human rights. This is indeed a unique hearing. We appreciate the confidence that have been bestowed on us. We hope through this process we will find a lasting solution for allegations that have been raised that have gained prominence among the staff of the university‚” he said.

Written submissions from the parties was invited by the tree member panel, that that they could explore the expansion of the scope of the investigation to the entire institution.

Jurisprudence lecturer and secretary general of Black Forum‚ Kgaugudi Morota‚ gave a defining statement outlining that the panel should brace itself for heartbreaking evidence of racism that the forum are to put forward. He also stated that the commission is going to hear “sad stories”.

“Black people in the college occupy junior positions. White people start as senior lecturers. If you call a meeting and say you want senior lecturers you will find few blacks as senior lecturers; if you say associate professors‚ you will find two black professors. If you say full professors‚ you might find one who is black professor‚” he said.

The hearing resumes tomorrow.

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