Ruling on Dlamini case
- By Wits University
STATEMENT FROM THE COUNCIL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND
The Council of the University of the Witwatersrand today learned of the outcome of the review of the disciplinary decision against the former Students’ Representative Council (SRC) President, Mr Mcebo Dlamini.
There were two charges relating to events which occurred in 2014.
On the first charge the independent Appeal and Review Committee confirmed the finding of the Student Discipline Committee that he was guilty of misconduct. The Committee did not uphold a second charge relating to another 2014 incident. On the basis of the confirmation of the first finding, the Council hereby confirms the Vice-Chancellor's decision to require him to stand down from the SRC. He will remain a student at Wits.
This process has nothing to do with Mr Dlamini’s ‘Hitler’ comments. After complaints were received, the University's Legal Office undertook a thorough investigation. On the basis of existing case evidence, the Legal Office found that Mr Dlamini's utterances did not breach the exceptions to the Constitution regarding freedom of speech. There are grounds for him to be charged for failing to meet his fiduciary requirements as SRC President. However, given the fact that he has already been removed from this capacity, the University does not deem it appropriate to charge him in this regard.
Obviously, the University still holds the view that Mr Dlamini's remarks were abhorrent and not in standing with the values of this institution. The University remains embarrassed that one of its own could have made such comments. However, given its commitment to freedom of speech as espoused in the Constitution, the University is committed to providing a space for the free exchange of ideas, whether or not it agrees with those ideas.
While on this occasion, the matter is not being taken any further, the University takes allegations which infringe on the dignity of members of the Wits community and wider society very seriously. It also takes its reputation very seriously. The University will therefore continue to engage with all stakeholders to ensure that we all act within the broader interests and values of the institution.
The University is of the opinion that these matters have now run their course and are considered closed.
Dr Randall Carolissen
Chairperson of Council
University of the Witwatersrand
14 July 2015