Minister Calls For Stronger Campaigns Against GBV In Universities & Colleges

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The 16 Days Of Activism campaign aims to curb the scourge of violence against women and children. The lives of women and children remain at risk regardless of where they find themselves including at South Africa's universities and TVET Colleges. 

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In November, the brutal stabbing of a Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) student was caught on video. A man was recorded stabbing a female student in broad daylight at a private student residence in Belhar, Cape Town. 

Following the shocking scenes it emerged that the perpetrator was in fact the husband of the victim. 

Crime statistics from the South African Police Services (SAPS) show that the police are struggling in their battle against gender-based violence (GBV). This is as the police saw an uptick in crimes against women in 2024. 

Major-General Thulare Sekhukhune, who presented the crime stats for 1 April to 30 June this year revealed that 40 more women were killed in the same period, 235 more attempted murders were reported, and 1,138 more cases of assault, in which women were victims, were recorded. 

Calls For Intensified Campaigns To Combat GBV

The Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande says the barbaric behaviours of males against women must be condemned and dealt with appropriately in a court of law. 

This kind of barbaric behaviour by males against women must be condemned and perpetrators must face the full might of the law. We cannot continue like this in our society, where as many as 38% of murders are committed against women, often by their intimate partners,

The minister is calling on the government and the Post School Education and Training (PSET) sector to intensify campaigns to confront and defeat the scourge of Gender Based Violence in society.

In 2023, the minister launched the Transforming MENtalities programme which seeks to mobilise men to be part of championing a world free of gender biases, stereotypes, violence and discrimination.

I initiated the Transforming MENtalities project as a collaborative effort within the PSET, with a specific emphasis on rallying men in our field to actively support the pursuit of a world devoid of gender biases, stereotypes, violence, and discrimination.

The PSET sector in South Africa comprises over 2.5 million young individuals, with females accounting for 51% of these individuals. 

Earlier this year the minister revealed that 10% of all reported rape cases originate from young women within the higher education sector. Disturbingly, only one in ten women report a rape case which suggests that acts of sexual assault may be higher than reported at universities and TVET colleges. 

In 2020, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) developed a framework for addressing GBV on campuses called the “Policy Framework to Address Gender-Based Violence in the Post-School Education and Training System.”

The policy provides guidelines and recommendations for universities to prevent and respond to GBV incidents.

Safety On Campus 

The minister praised the apprehension of a senior Fort Hare University staff member, accused of committing murder and attempted murder against university employees. 

The accused, consisting of nine men and one woman, appeared in the Alice Magistrate's Court on Tuesday, facing charges related to the murder of Fort Hare Fleet Manager, Petrus Roets, and the attempted murder of Mboneli Vesele, the bodyguard to Vice-Chancellor Professor Sakhela Buhlungu.

The court postponed the case to 13 December 2023 to address pending bail applications for three of the accused.

We had conveyed to Minister Cele (Police Minister) that a thorough investigation is crucial to uncover the motives behind the killings at Fort Hare. Without making premature judgments, as Minister, I am deeply troubled by the recent arrest of someone within the Vice-Chancellor's office, ostensibly responsible for the institution's security.

Nzimande says these developments may suggest that the issues at UFH run deeper than what is apparent. 

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