Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reitz Four Want to Apologise

This is the first time I've seen this movie and I am aware that in doing so I am handicapped by two things. Firstly, I don't know enough Afrikaans to understand the context of the events portrayed, and secondly because my neutrality has been impaired by the media hype surrounding the video and its reception.

The "urinating" incident occurs at 6:42.

I hope someone can help with the translation to understand the context of the movie, for example, if the staff are unaware there's a prank involved, why do they retch when they eat the stew?

Thanks to Andrea Murrhteyn for this link.

The men accused of producing the allegedly racist Reitz initiation video "just want to say sorry" to the black staff they are accused of humiliating.

And, with President Jacob Zuma's advocate, Kemp J Kemp, fighting their cause with the National Prosecuting Authority, they want to walk away from their part in the politically explosive video without a criminal record.

Attorney Christo Dippenaar, who is representing former University of the Free State (UFS) students RC Malherbe, Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe and Danie Grobler, yesterday confirmed they had suggested that the crimen injuria case against them be resolved through a "restorative justice" process.

In a four-page "representations" document penned by Kemp, the men proposed that their prosecution be resolved out of court through "alternative dispute resolution".

According to Dippenaar, such an approach would involve the men meeting and apologising to Naomi Phororo, Emmah Koko, Nkgapeng Adams, Sebuasengwe Mittah Ntlatseng and Mothibedi Molete - the university staff they depicted, among other things, eating stew they appeared to have urinated in.

"They (the Reitz accused) have tried on four different occasions to apologise to the staff... They initially tried to meet with them about this after it happened, but they were stopped from doing so by a certain union.

"They want the chance to apologise, they have no problem with doing so," he said, adding that the "facts (about the alleged racist video) are totally different from what was put out in the media".

Dippenaar further explained that following the mooted meeting between the men and their accusers, an official appointed by the Justice department would release a report that could result in the case against the men being withdrawn at their next court appearance in February.

Crucial to such a favourable outcome for the men would be the buy-in of their alleged victims, who received a heroes' welcome when they arrived and left the Bloemfontein Magistrate's Court for yesterday morning's postponement of their case.

After arriving to songs and clapping by dozens of protesters from unions and the ANC Women's League, Phororo, Koko, Adams, Ntlatseng and Molete remained impassive as they sat with their arms folded in front of them, two rows behind their alleged abusers.

The five had briefly grown quiet when the men - minus Grobler, who lives in Namibia and was not required to fly down for the postponement of his trial- made their entrance into the tiny courtroom. The men did not once turn to look at them or greet them during their court appearance.

While chief magistrate Mziwonke Hinxa postponed the case against them to allow prosecutor Ben Molutsi to consider the possibility of a "restorative justice" ending to the Reitz saga, newly appointed UFS vice-chancellor Jonathan Jansen was meeting the government over his decision to drop the university's complaint against the men.

Jansen met Education Department Director-General Mary Metcalfe in Pretoria.

Despite pressure from the government, Jansen has declined to suspend his decision.

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