Rhodes University appoints first ever harassment and discrimination officer

2018-09-19 20:36
Rhodes University has appointed Dr Zethu Mkhize as its harassment and discrimination officer

Rhodes University has appointed Dr Zethu Mkhize as its harassment and discrimination officer

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

WRAP: Students mourn the death of one of their own, Khensani Maseko

2018-08-08 19:37

The tragic death of Rhodes student Khensani Maseko has devastated the nation during National Women's Month. The suicide of the 23-year-old has sparked outrage and heartache over sexual violence affecting women in South Africa. Watch.WATCH

Rhodes University has appointed Dr Zethu Mkhize as its harassment and discrimination officer as of September 10, 2018.

This follows recommendations made by the sexual violence task team at the institution.

"My role is to provide a safe haven to those who have been wronged and to advise them about options going forward. In such situations, I assess not only what might have happened, but how the person feels and thinks about the situation," Mkhize said in a statement on Wednesday.

The institution came under the spotlight in August when one of its students, 23-year-old Khensani Maseko, committed suicide after she was allegedly raped in May by her then boyfriend. Her death sent shock waves throughout the nation.

The student accused of allegedly raping Maseko was issued a notice of suspension by the institution.

This, however, does not equate to a suspension yet as he will be afforded the right to make representations on why he should continue his studies, once an inquest into the circumstances of Maseko's death is finalised.

Immediate intervention 'critical'

"A notice of suspension involves a student being invited to make representations, in terms of the principle of audi alteram partem (let the other side be heard as well) as to why he should not be suspended pending the finalisation of the inquest and the actions that may flow from the report of the inquest. The representations will be considered and an appropriate decision will be taken," the institution's spokesperson Veliswa Mhlope previously told News24.

This is not the first time the issue of sexual violence has rocked the institution. Scores of students in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown) gathered in protest two years ago against the "war on women's bodies" being ignored. This collective action sparked an international debate about rape culture in society.

Mkhize, who holds a PhD from the University of South Africa, will oversee transformation, advocacy and awareness-raising in respect of harassment, discrimination, sexual assault and violence.

"My expertise relates to being responsive to the psychosocial needs of individuals and any challenge that might interfere with their social functioning. Harassment and discrimination are two phenomena that upset a person's rhythm of life within their living spaces. It is therefore critical that intervention be offered immediately," Mkhize said.

The institution has welcomed Mkhize's new role and hopes that it will help curb the scourge of gender-based violence.

"We are looking forward to Dr Mkhize's positive contribution to the university in strengthening our ongoing programme against sexual and gender-based violence," Rhodes University vice-chancellor Sizwe Mabizela concluded.

Read more on:    rhodes university

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.