On Wednesday 18 May, Stellenbosch University confirmed that an 18 year old student had been arrested on charges of rape after a female student opened a case with the police.
According to the university the female student opened a case of rape against the perpetrator after the incident, which is alleged to have occurred on Tuesday evening at the Majuba residence in Victoria Street at the Stellenbosch campus.
SAPS accompanied the student to the Stellenbosch Provincial Hospital, where she was examined and received medication, care and primary counselling.
“The circumstances surrounding a rape that was reported to the police by a 19-year-old female victim on Wednesday are being investigated by the Stellenbosch Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) unit." said Police spokesperson Captain Frederick Van Wyk.
The student charged with two counts of rape was granted R1 000 bail at the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, 19 May.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said that the accused may not be in contact with the complainant as a condition of bail. Ntabazalila said the case had been postponed until 29 June for further investigation.
Stellenbosch University said it was “deeply distressed” by the incident and suspended the alleged perpetrator from his residence pending further internal and criminal investigation by the police.
“It must be noted that this is now a criminal matter and the law will now run its course." the university stated.
In a statement the University's Student Representative Council (SRC) stated that they had been working with the Centre for Student Counselling and Development to ensure that the victim received the support she required.
The SU SRC expressed their distaste of these incidents of Gender-Based Violence saying:
Following the 2019 anti-gender based violence movement, we cannot fathom that our institution still acts as a breeding ground for toxic masculinity. Since 2019 this institution has created anti-gender-based violence working groups, received student memorandums with recommendations, reviewed residence rules and taken public stances toward zero tolerance for gender-based violence, However, we again find outselves in this position.
Deputy vice-chancellor of strategy, global and corporate affairs, Professor Hester Klopper told Newzroom Afrika that the victim initially didn't want to report the matter to the SU Equality Unit but she had then changed her mind and received assistance with that process.
Klopper says that the university is committed to this cause and will continue to work towards creating an environment free of gender-based violence that advances equal rights for all which is in line with their 'unfair discrimination and harassment policy'.
On Friday, 20 May students at the university marched down Victoria Street to the Rooiplein on the university's campus to hold a mass meeting in order to show their solidarity for the victims of Gender Based Violence and racism, which had taken place on the campus over the past week.