UFS acts on 'non-affirmative action' accommodation scandal


The rector of the University of Free State, Jonathan Jansen, is interviewed in his office in Bloemfontein on February 15, 2010.

BLOEMFONTEIN - Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS) Jonathan Jansen has approached the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to intervene in what appears to be another race scandal at the institution.

This time the drama involves private accommodation reserved for white students.

An advertisement in a local newspaper offers rooms for "non-affirmative action students only".

Approximately 80 percent of UFS&39;s students live off-campus, many of them desperate for a place to stay.

eNCA listened in while a black student called the landlady in question. At first she said didn&39;t have any available space.

[African student]: So, you can help me?

[Landlady]: I have a waiting list. I have 13 at the moment waiting for rooms.

Minutes later, eNCA listened in while a white student called the same landlady.

[White student]: Are places still available?

[Landlady]: Yes, I still have a few empty rooms.

Jansen has filed a complaint with the HRC.

"It&39;s something that goes completely against the grain of what we are trying to do at the University of the Free State," said Jansen.

"We have in the past five years built a very strong anti-racist culture."

Jansen said although a private residence is involved, the complaint is a matter of principle.

"This is a case that will send a very clear message in the student housing market and the housing market in general, that it is unacceptable in the 21st century -- 20 years after democracy -- to still discriminate against people because of their race."

The HRC said investigations were expected to start soon.

Attempts by eNCA to reach the advertiser (identified as Ronel) for comment, were unsuccessful.