University of Pretoria Vice Principal backs UJ Petition - calling on UJ to end Israeli relations

23 March 2011

This morning, amidst mounting tension, it was announced that the Vice Principal of the University of Pretoria, Professor Ntabiseng Ogude, has joined the nationwide UJ Petition. This now means that 9 Vice-Chancellors (VCs) and Deputy Vice Chancellors (DVCs) have backed the call on UJ to suspend its Israeli links.

Other VCs and Deputy-VCs to have signed the UJ Petition include: Professors Saleem Badat (Rhodes University), Derrick Swartz (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University), Narend Rajinath (UNISA) and Nicky Morgan (Central University of Technology).

The UJ Petition has been signed by over 400 South African academics and is a public statement in support of the call for UJ to end its apartheid-era relationship with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University (BGU). The call is based on BGU’s active support and collaboration with the Israeli military and the illegal Occupation. The opening lines of the UJ Petition reads:

As members of the academic community of South Africa, a country with a history of brute racism on the one hand and both academic acquiescence and resistance to it on the other, we write with deep concern regarding the relationship between the University of Johannesburg (UJ) and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU)…[W]e wish to add our voices to those calling for the suspension of UJ’s agreement with BGU.

Last year, UJ imposed six conditions on its Israeli university partner, BGU. This was after UJ’s Senate found there to be “significant evidence that BGU has research and other engagements that support the military and armed forces of Israel, in particular in its occupation of Gaza.” If these conditions are not met by the 01st of April then relations will automatically terminate.

Today, 23 March 2011, at 13h00 UJ’s Senate will meet at its Auckland Park campus, where BGU's compliance with the Senate conditions will be evaluated and the final decision regarding UJ's Israeli relationship will be determined. The outcome of UJ Senate’s decision will be announced immediately after the Seante meeting. Representatives can be contacted to provide updates, interviews and comment on the decision.