The University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) is currently investigating an online petition against Student Representative Council (SRC) president Kefentse Mkhari, who allegedly made racist remarks at the Wits welcome day which took place last Sunday.
The petition was accompanied by a letter that was addressed to Wits Vice-chancellor Adam Habib. The petition was available online at petitions24.com and received 91 signatures. The author of the petition boldly takes a stance against the accusation of racism directed at Sandra Benn, the Health Sciences Faculty registrar.
According to Benn, who attended welcome day on Sunday as a parent, she was shocked to hear the accusation made against her by Mkhari. Student News Grid (SNG) was unable to get hold of footage of the day which shows Mkhari accusing Benn of racism.
Benn told SNG that the SRC president started his speech with issues of sexual harassment and other matter pertaining to the university as a whole. Benn said that she wrote to Habib two days later as she was shocked by the remark and felt that it was defamatory.
According to SRC members, who asked not to be named, Mkhari said something along the lines of “she is a racist and racist people should repent”. According to Benn, Mkhari stated before he made the accusation that he knew he might get into trouble for what he was about to say. Unfortunately Mkhari was not available for comment.
Benn said that she did not know who started the petition but after SNG brought it to the attention of Shirona Patel, the university’s spokesperson, the petition has been closed. The university is aware of the remarks and the matter is under investigation.
Written by Naeemah Dudan