Post-Reitz settlement in process


The five former cleaners who were humiliated in the infamous Reitz video at the University of the Free State in 2007, are satisfied with the university’s implementation of its settlement agreement. This follows reports of unhappiness among the workers about delays in the progress made with respect to their employment. Their legal representative, Mothusi Lepheana, told OFM News the workers were initially frustrated after the UFS had failed to provide them with, among other things, a key undertaking on job security as part of the High Court order of 2011, but that all glitches were solved during a meeting which was cleared by the Human Rights Commission last week. Lepheana confirmed that things are now back to normal, and that they are excited to start work within their newly established cleaning company. UFS spokesperson Lacea Loader said they remained consistently true to the settlement agreement and High Court order, and that their rights as employees remain the highest priority in the post-settlement process.
"All but one of the conditions of the Reitz settlement (own business) has been met; however, we are in the process of providing training and support for the establishment of an independent business led by the employees," said Loader in a statement.
She added that beyond the settlement agreement the UFS has also committed to providing free education and training to the children of the employees so that their next generation of families emerge as strong, independent, well-trained and productive members of society. "The child of one of the colleagues is in fact finishing Grade 12 this year and we are in discussion about possible studies at the UFS. This is our pledge and commitment as a university."
On a question of how the workers feel about the planned reopening of Reitz hostel, Lepheana said they are not at all upset. "They are happy at this stage and excited about the business opportunities they will be afforded in future."
UFS rector, Prof Jonathan Jansen, recently announced that the Reitz hostel will reopen in 2014, but that it will probably have another name and new traditions.