Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib has called Wits SRC President Mcebo Dlamini’s Facebook comments about admiring Adolf Hitler “racist and offensive in the extreme”. Students are petitioning for his removal.
University of the Witwatersrand SRC president Mcebo Dlamini commented from his Facebook account on Saturday saying: “I love Adolf Hitler”.
Dlamini posted the statement in a comment thread below an image he posted comparing modern Israel to Nazi Germany captioned: “In every White person there’s an element of Adolf Hitler…”
When contacted about his comments, he told Wits Vuvuzela that he admired the German leader for his “charisma” and “organisational skills”.
He explained in an interview that the Hitler elements he was referring to were “hate … racism … power mongers …. colonisers”.
His comments were met with an outcry from the Jewish community on campus, to which he responded by saying:
“I am puzzled and shocked by the response from the white community…” he told News24. “If indeed the Israelites hate Hitler so much… why are they emulating Hitler in that they are subjecting the Palestinian children to discrimination, segregation and human indignity?”
He continued to explain that power had corrupted Hitler just like it has corrupted Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former US president George Bush, and former UK prime minister Tony Blair. “He started killing people when he was already in power,” he said.
“I’m deciding to look at the good Hitler stood for. He rebuilt the country, the economy, the infrastructure, he uplifted the spirit of Germany.”
In an interview with eNCA, Dlamini said that “all white people they are the same, they are racist and they are full of hate” and that a black person can’t be racist as they have been subjected to oppression and torture for centuries by white people.
SHOCKING comments! Wits SRC president Mcebo Dlamini claims to love “President Adolf Hitler”. http://t.co/4NDStAgo7k pic.twitter.com/n6RETjJafT
— Leandri J van Vuuren (@Lean3Jvv) April 28, 2015
The SA Union of Jewish Students called Dlamini’s Facebook comments anti-semitic and unconstitutional.
“It’s absolutely disgusting that in light of the recent xenophobic attacks… he [Dlamini] turns around and starts marginalising certain groups which is counter to what our government is pushing and Africans [as a whole],” national chairperson of the SAUJS, Natan Pollack told News24.
Wits vice-chancellor Adam Habib called the comments “racist and offensive in the extreme” in a statement.
“The Facebook posts and subsequent comments are racist and offensive in the extreme,” Habib said of Dlamini.”They make disparaging remarks about various communities and assume a similar characteristic among all white people. Disturbingly, they valorise a racist autocrat who was responsible for the murder of millions of people.”
Habib apologised for Dlamini’s comments and stated that he will be “referring Mcebo Dlamini for investigation to see whether disciplinary charges should be brought against him in this regard”.
Habib further said that: “Valorising such an individual is utterly unacceptable and especially dangerous in a climate where we are experiencing xenophobic attacks. It violates the fundamental values of Wits University.”
Adam Macgregor created an online petition calling on Habib to remove Dlamini as Wits SRC president. The motivation for the petition read: “It is unacceptable on any level for any person, yet alone a figurehead, to make such sweeping, racially motivated antisemitic remarks and express support for a man who sent approximately eleven million people to their deaths”.
To date 750 people have signed the petition.
While many would like to see him removed, there are those who have stood behind Dlamini’s comments:
A black man cant be racist.. -Mcebo Dlamini. I agree with him 1000000% — #StopXenophobia! (@MajavuThabiso) April 28, 2015
@Lean3Jvv Mcebo Dlamini’s statement might not b properly put, but he is technically & theoretically correct. Check the definition of racism
— Floyd Selomo (@FloydSelomo) April 28, 2015
Photo by Twitter.com