Protest at Unisa calls for dismissal of student council member accused of sexual harassment
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Pretoria - Student leadership from various university structures and political parties across the City of Tshwane have rallied behind the National Student Representative Council's (NSRC) at Unisa in calling for the immediate dismissal of a student council member accused of sexual harassment.
Following the student council's call last week demanding the speedy resolution of investigations looking into allegations of sexual harassment against the student leader of the student council, students protested at the Unisa Muckleneuk campus in Tshwane.
The march was organised by the Unisa Law Students Association (ULSA) with students gathering at the university's Sunnyside campus and making their way to the main campus to hand over their memorandum of demands to the Dean of Student Affairs.
The handful of students included representatives from the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), the Sefakho Makgatho Health Sciences University, the University of Pretoria and different structures from the Unisa student leadership.
Student leadership from various universities across Tshwane have rallied behind the NSRC at Unisa in calling for the immediate dismissal of a student council member accused of sexual harassment #GBV #GenderBasedViolence #Unisa @unisa @SMU_SA #TUT #Tuks @UPTuks @IOL pic.twitter.com/DmmhEmfZZc— Pretoria News (@pretorianews) November 4, 2021
Shatadi Phoshoko, the secretary-Ggeneral of the Student Representative Council at Unisa, said as the scourge of gender-based violence was so encompassing students had rallied behind the student putting aside their political affiliation.
Phoshoko said as leaders they could not stand by whilst others were looking to silence a woman for standing up for her rights or try to dismiss the issue as urgent.
"Men must not see us as subordinates or footnotes or people who did not have the same rights as them
Boitumelo Thage, gender activist and leader of the Regional ANC youth league said all they wanted was for the student leader to be suspended with immediate effect as students did not want to be led by an alleged sexual harasser and for the university to be a safe space for all women.
Thage said they wanted the leader suspended pending the outcome of the investigation by the university as the matter had already been brought to their attention in July.
She added that students would also be in court on November 15 to support the victim to see whether the student leader would be formally charged.
Nolwazi Manzini, the convener of young women's desk at the University of Pretoria, pleaded with the university management to show that it really took a firm stance against the abuse and violation of women.
"Management please take a stand against this scourge we're losing hope, if you as our parents can't protect us who will?"
Unisa Dean of Students, Dr Olwethu Siphuka accepted the memorandum of demands and pleaded with students to allow the university management time to follow due process in dealing with the matter.
Students however rejected the call for patience and gave the university until tomorrow in order to suspend the student leader or face a shutdown of all of its nine campuses.