University ousts student president, but not for Nazi sympathies

University ousts student president, but not for Nazi sympathies

South African institution removes leader, who has praised Hitler in the past, from post for assaulting staff

The University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa (Samuel Molepo/CC BY-SA 3.0)
The University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa (Samuel Molepo/CC BY-SA 3.0)

CAPE TOWN — The student government president at a South African university who publicly praised Hitler was removed from office, but over a separate matter, according to a university leader.

Mcebo Dlamini, who made headlines over the weekend after a graphic appeared on his Facebook page comparing the Israeli government to the Nazi regime, was ousted Monday from his post with the Students’ Representative Council at the University of the Witwatersrand.

“In every white person there is an element of Hitler,” he wrote.

The university’s vice chancellor and principal, Adam Habib, said in an email to students that Dlamini was removed following a finding of his Hitler comments had nothing to do with the move. Habib cited Dlamini’s assault of a senior staff member, as well as verbal altercations misconduct against him by a disciplinary panel in February and with other senior staff, as the cause for removal.

Habib did condemn the comments, saying they were “deeply offensive,” “racist to the extreme” and as having “violated the fundamental values of Wits.”

Dlamini said Habib removed him from office because he had given in to pressure from “Zionists,” South Africa’s Eyewitness News reported.

The student leader told the Wits newspaper Vuvuzela, “What I love about Hitler is his charisma and his capabilities to organize people. We need more leaders of such caliber.”

In defending his Facebook remarks, Dlamini said he was looking at “Hitler’s good side. Hitler managed to uplift the spirit of the German people.”

Dlamini said rich donors influenced Habib’s decision.

The university said Dlamini had caused more damage to its reputation than anyone else in the past 20 years.

Natan Pollack, the national chairman of the South African Union of Jewish Students, called Dlamini’s comments “absolute anti-Semitism and racism,” according to a report in the Cape Times.

A university source said that Dlamini was under investigation for his “I love Adolf Hitler” Facebook posts.

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