Potch student called 'monkey' faces disciplinary action

Potchefstroom – A North-West University (NWU) student who was called a monkey on social media by a fellow student is expected to appear in front of a disciplinary committee on Tuesday for contravening the university's social media policy.

The university said the LLB student, Jeandré Goliath, would face the disciplinary committee for "social media abuses".

At issue is a comment thread on Facebook between Goliath and a fellow student, Hanno Bisschoff. A separate disciplinary committee has since found Bisschoff guilty for referring to Goliath as an "apie" (monkey).

In the comment section of an AfriForum Jeug Facebook [Afriforum Youth Facebook] post in May calling for the protection of the teaching of law at NWU in Afrikaans, Goliath wrote that the "the winds of change" were blowing at the university.

Goliath called AfriForum Jeug an intolerant organisation and said black students "are tired of being 'accommodated'".

In response, Bisschoff said Goliath "oozes inferiority" and his "sense of entitlement is sickening".

Bisschoff wrote in Afrikaans, "Dis nadat ons ondankbare apies soos julle ‘n kans gegee het wat julle die mat onder ons voete uitgepluk het (It was after we gave ungrateful monkeys like you a chance when you pulled the carpet from underneath our feet)."

"You have a plundering mentality because you can’t build your own successful institutions," Bisschoff wrote.

Goliath responded saying Bisschoff’s "white supremacy is nauseating".

"Plundering mentality is your white Afrikaner mentality that thinks you [are] superior because a black body must constantly feel inferior to you, that's why your inherent racism allows you to call other people 'monkeys'," Goliath said.

Bisschoff’s comments have since been deleted and it appears his Facebook page has been deactivated.

NWU spokesperson Louis Jacobs told News24 on Monday that Goliath will appear in front of an independent disciplinary committee for "social media abuses".

"As this is an internal disciplinary committee, I cannot comment on any of the proceedings at this stage," Jacobs said. He said while Bisschoff has been found guilty, he could not elaborate on his charges.

Tracey Nixon-Lomax, representing Goliath, said the comments made by Bisschoff cannot be compared to that of Goliath.

"There is no comparison of Bisschoff’s comments to Goliath because their history is different. Bisschoff doesn’t face the same systemic oppression and institutionalised racism," Nixon-Lomax told News24.

"While I do believe the right wing has the right to make a call about issues affecting their communities, it has to be in the context of the Constitution and the Equality Act."

Nixon-Lomax is representing Goliath pro bono and said she has the support of other organisations if the case needs to be challenged in the High Court or Constitutional Court. She reiterated that she is commenting in her personal capacity and not on behalf of Goliath. "The university policy prohibits him from speaking to the media about an impending disciplinary case," she said.