All 26 vice-chancellors (VCs) of South Africa’s universities will engage President Cyril Ramaphosa over the scourge of gender violence playing out on campuses across the country.
This after the 19-year-old University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana was found raped and murdered this week, allegedly by a South African Post Office employee, and the killing of 19-year-old theology student Jesse Hess from the University of Western Cape.
The news comes as thousands gathered at the gates of Parliament to vent their anger over gender violence.
Ramaphosa accepted a memorandum from the protestors and announced that he will address the nation on efforts to combat gender-based violence.
The VCs, under the banner of Universities South Africa (Usaf), stated that universities were experiencing an “epidemic of incomprehensible violence.”
“Our people are angry – angry about the violent abuse of women that happens daily, angry about not being heard, angry about the irrational violence that robs people of their lives, angry about the lawlessness in our country, angry about the wanton destruction of infrastructure and angry about the empty promises and lack of political leadership on these matters. “ the VCs said.
Usaf said while political leadership and a practical agenda that works through national laws and the Constitution are needed to find a long-term solution to eradicate the scourge, there is also a need for all of society to work together to eradicate gender-based harm in society.
“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.”
“All complaints of gender-based harm should be referred to the respective Gender Equity Offices at the universities who have committed to investigating all complaints expeditiously,” said Usaf.