Poppy Louw, Graeme Hosken and Nashira Davids
TWO white University of the Free State (UFS) students allegedly deliberately drove over a black student and then beat him up after he confronted them.
On the same day, a Cape Town Muslim scholar and teacher was kidnapped and violently attacked by four white men who called him al-Qaeda. The horror attack at UFS, mirroring a similar assault at the university in 2010, has also brought back memories of the 2008 Reitz incident, where four students forced cleaning staff to eat food they had urinated on. In the 2010 attack, Pinky Mokemane was dragged alongside a car by two students.
On Monday evening economics student Dumane “Muzi” Gwebu was admitted to hospital after two students attacked him while he was walking through the university’s main campus on his way home.
The UFS attackers allegedly tried to drive over three black women students before they hit Gwebu.
A security guard called for assistance while Gwebu was being beaten by his attackers. According to SA Students Congress provincial chairman Ntakuseni Razwiedani, Gwebu said one had held him while the other repeatedly punched him. UFS rector Professor Jonathan Jansen yesterday condemned the attack. The two alleged culprits have since been expelled and arrested on assault, attempted murder and vehicle violation charges.
“If found guilty in the criminal and institutional investigations, the students will not be allowed to study at the university,” Jansen said.
Jansen, however, questioned whether the attack was racially motivated, but said they were investigating.
Gwebu was admitted to Bloemfontein’s Pelonomi Hospital where he was treated for injuries to his face, back and leg. He was released on Tuesday.
Police spokesman Captain Chaka Marope said the suspects would appear in court today. “More charges could be added at a later stage.”
Meanwhile, the Cape Town attack, which saw the 20-year-old Muslim scholar pulled into a VW Kombi and assaulted by four white men as he left a Lotus River mosque, has prompted Muslim societies to urge their scholars and teachers to be on the alert.
The scholar had just left the mosque when three white men in a van pulled up next to him. He was dressed in full Islamic attire, including a turban.
Binyameen Ismail, chairman of the society, said the men flung “religious and racial slurs” at him. He ignored them and they threw a glass bottle at him. “One occupant then also jumped out of a dark blue Kombi and physically started assaulting the teacher.”
He was then forced into the vehicle by the men, one of whom was armed, and beaten in the ribs, face and stomach.
The Lotus River Islamic Educational Society’s executive committee said: “We implore all our parents to make proper transport arrangements to and from all our various Islamic learning centres.
“We call on our community to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour.”