Vice-chancellors from South African universities have requested a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa, to further discuss the burden of gender-based violence.
A deadline has been set for the proposed meeting with Ramaphosa
The 26 vice-chancellors- which form the organisation called Universities SA, request to meet Cyril Ramaphosa before Friday, 13 September, to discuss a way forward regarding the increasing number of gender-based violence, on university campuses across South Africa.
“This is not the society we want and the status quo about gender-based harm must change. We cannot stand back and allow women to be violated. We need all branches of society to unite and work together to eradicate gender-based harm in society.
Universities SA: “epidemic of incomprehensible violence”
The vice-chancellors further expressed that South Africa is currently experiencing an “epidemic of incomprehensible violence”.
“We also need political leadership and a practical agenda that works within our national and constitutional laws to ensure that we find a long-term sustainable solution to eradicate this scourge.”
Universities SA has a zero-tolerance approach to gender-based violence
The University of Cape Town, first-year student, Uyinene Mrwetyana’s murder including many intolerable gender-based violence cases being reported at universities and South Africa at large, sparked a fuse with the vice-chancellors.
“It is imperative to hold those who are guilty of perpetrating gender-based harm to account and we should do so through the channels and processes developed to address gender violence. Universities SA and its members have a zero-tolerance approach to gender-based harm and progressive policies are in place to ensure that perpetrators are dealt with decisively.”
The vice-chancellors condemned “opportunistic” accusers
The vice-chancellors condemned those who tried to abuse the grief felt by women, by using social media platforms to name and shame alleged perpetrators and dubbed these allegations as “opportunistic”.
“On investigation, it was found that some of these accusations were scurrilous and that these accusers used the current moment opportunistically to settle scores on unrelated matters. These are the unintended consequences of social media hype and mob justice, where people abuse a just cause to further their agendas.”
The university heads further stated their anger about the violent abuse women suffered daily in all corners of the country. They expressed their grief about being ignored, and the empty promises made, including the lawlessness that transpires daily in South Africa.
“We have every right to be angry. At the same time, we cannot allow our anger to spill over in a way which reduces us to lawlessness or advances further harm.”