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Gender-based violence remains one of the biggest and most profound problems in South African society. Its prevalence in institutions of higher learning – as a microcosm of this society – has garnered much debate and attention, particularly in recent years.

Mandela University has not been immune to this troubling phenomenon, having received reports on gender-based violence incidents involving the institutional community, in particular the students.

During today’s graduation sessions, a group of students staged a silent protest against the University’s perceived failure in adequately dealing with reported cases of gender-based violence.

Chancellor Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi acknowledged the protest immediately thereafter and committed to following up on the issues raised.

As such, some members of University management met with the protesting students between graduation sessions, with a view to engage on the issues raised. These engagements are set to continue in more detail as the parties are finding each other on most of these issues.

The University therefore acknowledges the silent protest by the students and encourages democratic agency and activism in pursuits for social justice, as the institution understands the role of activism towards building a humane and just society.

The University is largely in support of the desired outcomes of the communicated demands as long as they promote social justice for all. While we have declared a zero tolerance to gender-based violence, it should be noted that we are still bound to follow due process.

As an institution, we concede that our investigation capacity is still wanting and continue working to bolster that.

The University thus commits to expedite its response to protection mechanisms as raised by the protesting students, while pursuing long-term effort towards the eradication of gender-based violence on University campuses.

The University is mindful of the crisis that the world, our country and sector are in when it comes to adequately dealing with gender-based violence matters, in particular sexual offences. We are equally mindful to the fact that we do not solely hold the solutions to this issue as it requires a societal, multi-layered approach.

We therefore look forward to working with relevant stakeholders, including gender activist groups, in this regard.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777