Student Stabbed To Death On Campus In Another GBV Incident

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George’s Nelson Mandela University campus was left shocked following the latest tragic incident in which a female student was stabbed to death by a male student. This is just one of the horrific counts of gender-based violence that has affected our higher education institutions.

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Students and staff were left reeling following yet another terrifying incident of gender-based violence (GBV) at The Nelson Mandela University (NMU) campus in George. The University calls for calm and sensitivity while the police investigation takes place and affected students receive counselling.

On Tuesday, 6 June 2023, a female student was allegedly stabbed to death by a male student at an on-campus residence. The alleged perpetrator has been taken into police custody and the investigation remains ongoing. It is unclear what led to the stabbing.

NMU encourages affected students to visit Emthonjeni Student Wellness counselling service, while staff can access support through staff wellness interventions on campus.

Safety On Campus

Unfortunately, this is not a rare occurrence as violent attacks against women at South Africa’s higher education institutions are becoming increasingly concerning. Last year, more than 2 600 incidents of GBV were reported at universities and colleges across the country.

Just earlier this year, a Tshwane University of Technology student was stabbed to death at the hands of her ex-boyfriend at an off-campus residence.

Femicide in South Africa is five times the global average, raising alarm bells for many students, however, successful interventions have yet to be implemented to combat this issue.

In 2022, the South African Medical Research Council reported that 10% of all reported rape cases in the country occur at institutions of higher learning. 

Furthermore, in a research study conducted by Higher Health, it was indicated that 62% of students felt unsafe on campus and are at risk of GBV, and 60% of service staff and 71% of academics felt unsafe. 

The Government’s Response

In response, the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation, Blade Nzimande, announced the launch of the “Transforming MENtality Programme”. This programme will aim to address toxic masculinity in the Post School Education and Training (PSET) sector.

Nzimande further revealed that a task team would be formed to implement this programme, as part of the many initiatives tasked with addressing GBV. 

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

This framework provides guidelines and recommendations for universities to prevent and respond to incidents of GBV on campus.

Despite students voicing their concerns, women and girls remain terrified as places of learning are no longer safe. Among cries for help, students report feeling that the government is not dealing with the pandemic of GBV with the aggressiveness that it should. 

The sad reality is that women in South Africa are not safe in their homes, or on the streets and now they are not even safe as they pursue an education.

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Progress made through GBV interventions

Gender-based violence is a widespread issue, with incidences occurring on tertiary institution campuses across the country. However, the government has established various interventions to help combat this issue, recently yielding positive results and taking a step in the right direction. 

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