Bursary conditions ruled to be racist and sexist

The Cape High Court has ruled that a bursary that was set up to exclusively help fund white male University of Cape Town graduates to study overseas is racist and sexist

Bursary conditions ruled to be racist and sexist

 

The Cape High Court has ruled that a bursary that was set up to exclusively help fund white male University of Cape Town graduates to study overseas is racist and sexist, says a report in the Cape Argus. And in terms of the ruling, the offending conditions set out in the 1920s will of Sea Point doctor Edmund Scarbrow are to be deleted. The report notes the success of the application bought by former Minister of Education Kader Asmal and UCT – they argued that Scarbrow’s will discriminated on the basis of race, gender and religion, was unconstitutional and was not in the public interest – could have major implications for the right of individuals to create bursaries exclusively for particular demographic or cultural groups.

 

The following article was originally published on page 1 of The Cape Argus on March 25, 2006. © Independent Online 2005

 

High court opens up ‘racist, sexist’ bursary

By Karyn Maughan

The Cape High court has ruled that a bursary that was set up to exclusively help fund white male University of Cape Town graduates to study overseas is racist and sexist.

And in terms of the ruling, the offending conditions set out in the 1920s will of Sea Point doctor Edmund Scarbrow are to be deleted.

The success of the application bought by former minister of education Kader Asmal and UCT – they argued that Scarbrow’s will discriminated on the basis of race, gender and religion, was unconstitutional and was not in the public interest – could have major implications for the right of individuals to create bursaries exclusively for particular demographic or cultural groups.

As noted by an executive of the bursary fund’s only trustee, Syfrets Trust Limited (now BoE Trust Limited), the company manages several bursary funds that are limited to Jewish people or women of colour.

In his judgment, Judge Ben Griesel stated that the primary purpose that the Scarbrow Trust sought to achieve was undoubtedly charitable and laudable, namely providing bursaries to deserving students with limited or no means for tertiary study.

Having done so, however, the provisions of the trust immediately disqualify over half of such potential candidates from applying at all on the basis of their race, gender or religion.

Moreover, the trust does not promote marginalised groups; rather it discriminates against them.

The bursary, which created major controversy after it was advertised in March 2002, invited UCT students or alumni “who, in terms of the will of the deceased… are required to be matriculants, of European descent, male and gentile with limited or no means” to apply for funding to study overseas.

Although Scarbrow initially offered the bursary to “deserving students with limited or no means of either sex (but of European descent only)”, Scarbrow later amended his will and specified that “persons of Jewish decent (sic), and females of all nationalities” be excluded as candidates.

 

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