A Stellenbosch University lecturer who allegedly sent a racist SMS to a student has been suspended.
Professor Tobie de Coning, the top South African university’s chief director of strategic initiatives and human resources, confirms Dr Anton Stander, a nuclear physics lecturer, has been temporarily relieved of his duties.
This follows a racism complaint laid by sociology student and #OpenStellenbosch forum member Sikhulekile Duma, who last week received an SMS which read: “Jou swart moer van die wit boer”.
This loosely translates to “You black bastard from the white farmer”.
The number has since allegedly been traced to the lecturer.
De Coning said formal disciplinary procedures had been initiated against Stander.
“The university views the matter in a very serious light as any such remarks or types of behaviour are unacceptable and not in line with the university’s values.”
The incident would be handled decisively and fairly, De Coning continued, explaining that a committee of preliminary investigation would now investigate the claims.
“The university will act in accordance with the committee’s findings. This may include a hearing, followed by appropriate sanction. It is premature to speculate on the possible outcomes of the investigation and resulting sanctions,” De Coning says.
Duma told City Press earlier that members of the movement had received numerous threats. This, he said, was the first one which members were able to trace to a possible source.
#OpenStellenbosch has spearheaded a number of protests and meetings surrounding transformation at the university in recent weeks.