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ProjectW describe SRC President’s comments as “criminal”

Wits campus organisation, ProjectW issued their official statement this week in response to the SRC president’s comments about Hitler. The organisation which forms part of the Wits SRC, described Dlamini’s comments as “reckless”, “offensive” and “criminal”, and said they were tantamount to hate speech. 

The unedited version of the statement is reproduced below: 

“Dear South Africa

On the 26th of April the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) Student Representative
Council (SRC) President Mcebo Dlamini/Sisulu made several comments on Facebook,
he further went on to make statements on various television channels . The effect of these
comments was that

• He loves Adolf Hitler.
• All white people have some Adolf Hitler in them.
• Every white person has an element of hate in them .
• Hitler had great charisma and organizational skills and is worthy of admiration

The SRC constitution states in its preamble that
1. The Students’ Representative Council is committed to exemplary student leadership in
defining the African Century.
2. it will uphold and safeguard the rights of all the students of the University of the
Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

The statements made by Mr Dlamini/ Sisulu are in clear contravention of these two guiding
principles. This is not exemplary behavior. The view that all white people have a bit of
Hitler in them is a clear racist attack and is tantamount to hate speech. The University
belongs to all who attend, this includes white students , to perpetuate hate to a group
against students of this university is not the job of the SRC and is not upholding their rights
to dignity and safety.

Section 2 of the constitution of the University clearly stipulates that our founding values are
based on:
(1) Upholding, respecting and promoting the founding values of the Constitution of the Republic of
South Africa 1996 and the rights contained in the Bill of Rights.
(2) Providing democratic, transparent, effective, accountable and coherent student leadership.
(3) Creating and sustaining an enabling academic environment and vibrant student community
striving for excellence, tolerance and respect for diversity.
(4) Representing the best interests of the student community.

It is evident that Mr Dlamini/ Sisulus statements are in contravention with the ideals of the
Constitution of South Africa and are in the realm of hate speech. It is also clear that these
statements are not in the best interests of the University community broadly, they cause
pain and stigma to several constituents of the university and in addition they bring the
University into disrepute.

The comments made by Mr Dlamini/ Sisulu are also in contravention of rule 18 of the
University which stipulate that no student may act in contempt of the University or act in
ways which bring the University into disrepute. In no way can this level of contravention
be acknowledged as justifiable and ProjectW denounces this as rhetorical hooliganism.

The outcomes of which are the endorsement of Adolf Hitler as a role model. The
veneration of his strategic organization is devoid of ethical considerations. The ends
clearly do not justify the means in the case of Adolf Hitler and the statements made by Mr
Dlamini are a celebration of means for the sake of celebrating means. Tactics can not be
examined with adulation if their outcome is to conjugate hate and perpetuate crimes
against humanity .

It is common cause that Adolf Hitler was a promoter of Eugenics , that he was a war
monger and above that a mass murderer. Hitler was anti black, anti homosexual, anti
women empowerment as well as being violently hateful to the Jewish community. The
extent of his evil are traumatizing to even consider. The hero worshipping of such a man
by influential student leaders , especially from a university with the gravitas of Wits can
reasonably lead to impressionable young minds viewing Adolf Hitler as a credible example
of leadership to emulate.

This form of speech is reckless, it is offensive and it is criminal.
We call upon the Vice Chancellor of the University to exercise his powers of suspension
under rule 1 of the Rules for student discipline to suspend Mcebo Dlamini from the SRC
pending the outcomes of an investigation into his original statements and his subsequent
defense of them.

– ProjectW.”

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This article first appeared in Wits Vuvuzela, April 2015.

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