university of kwazulu natal.jpgA high court ruling in South Africa which made an educational fund for poor white girls available to girls from all races was disputed in the Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday, amid rising tensions over racist allegations in the Southern African nation. 
 
The curators of the multi-million-rand Emma Smith Educational Fund at the University of KwaZulu-Natal brought the appeal after the high court ruled against them.
 
The university had sought an order that would delete the words “European”, “British” and “or Dutch South African” from the trust that was established according to the will of the late KwaZulu-Natal industrialist Sir Charles George Smith, who died in 1941.

 

The trust holds that “European girls born of British South African or Dutch South African parents who have been resident in Durban for a period of at least three years immediately preceding the grant”, could benefit from the fund.
 
Yesterday, the university, which manages the fund, submitted the phrase “born of British South African or Dutch South African parents” had ceased to have meaning in present-day South Africa .
 
The University of KwaZulu-Natal submitted it was no longer practical to carry out Sir Charles’ wishes according to the original will stipulated considering the new political dispensation in South Africa.

 

The university’s lawyer told a panel of five judges that Sir Charles could not have foreseen how South Africa would change. The legal argument presented by the defense is that the fund should be managed in a way that gives effect to the testator’s wishes.
 
It was further submitted that the measuring of freedom of testation against unfair discrimination in the Bill of Rights would have serious implications for the fund. Judgment was reserved to a later date to be announced.