Decision to remove Hitler-loving student leader upheld

A University of the Witwatersrand independent appeal and review committee has upheld a decision made in May to remove Mcebo Dlamini, the former student representative council president, from office for misconduct. Dlamini sparked outrage in South Africa for professing deep admiration for Hitler.

The university council said last week that Dlamini was not charged for his “I love Hitler comments”, as this was perceived as freedom of speech. He would remain a student at the University of the Witwatersrand, known as Wits.

Dr Randall Carolissen, chair of the Wits council, said in a statement that Dlamini had been found guilty of misconduct on one of two charges relating to events that occurred in 2014. The charges were not spelled out, but a local newspaper reported that they allegedly involved assault and email exchanges.

“On the basis of the confirmation of the first finding, the council hereby confirms the vice-chancellor's decision to require him to stand down from the SRC,” Carolissen said.

Dlamini was suspended on 4 May. Under the student representative council constitution, a member found guilty of misconduct by the committee ceases to be a member, but may appeal against his or her removal.

Nothing to do with Hitler comments

The former student council president first rose to public notoriety by proclaiming that he admired the Nazi Germany dictator. He then went on to post on Facebook threats to kill an individual who challenged his views.

Carolissen said the process to look into Dlamini’s conduct had nothing to do with his ‘Hitler’ comments.

“After complaints were received, the university's legal office undertook a thorough investigation. On the basis of existing case evidence, the legal office found that Mr Dlamini's utterances did not breach the exceptions to the constitution regarding freedom of speech,” he said.

The university considers the case now closed.