Controversial ‘Reitz Four’ Sentence Reduced

The four former students of the University of the Free State humiliated five black workers in an initiation-type ceremony in 2007, which they filmed while living at the university’s now-closed Reitz men’s residence.

RC Malherbe, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and Danie Grobler pleaded guilty to a charge of crimen injuria in July 2010 and were each fined R20 000 or 12 months’ in jail. They were also sentenced to a further six months imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on certain conditions.

The newspaper report that on appeal the fines for Van der Merwe and Malherbe were reduced to R10 000 each, while that of Roberts and Grobler were reduced to R15 000 each.

The report said if the former students do not pay the fines they must appear in court on July 25 2011 to be given an prison sentence.
The two-judge panel also strike out the additional sentence of six months imprisonment, wholly suspended for five years on certain conditions.

The appeal was heard by Judge MH Rampai and Judge MB Molemela.

Earlier this year, about 300 guests watched when the four students publicly expressed “deeply regret” for their conduct and the harm it caused the workers, the university and the broader community.

At the reconciliation ceremony, the former students said they had failed the workers and now knew that their conduct had hurt them.
“With true remorse and humility, we ask you to forgive us,” Grobler said on their behalf.
The workers accepted the apology. –Sapa