UKZN man accused

2019-09-10 16:02
South Africa has had sexual offences courts since 1993, the first of which was established at Cape Town. Picture: iStock

South Africa has had sexual offences courts since 1993, the first of which was established at Cape Town. Picture: iStock

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A University of KwaZulu-Natal academic has been outed on social media as having made unwanted sexual advances toward students.

The university on Monday would not confirm nor deny whether action has been taken against the man, but sources claimed he has been suspended. His name is known to The Witness.

He was named in social media posts last week as part of naming and shaming efforts by victims and survivors of sexual abuse.

Meanwhile, UKZN is ramping up efforts to stamp out gender-based violence, including developing an app for students to make emergency calls to its risk management services.

University spokesperson Ashton Bodrick said UKZN “condemns any behaviour that compromises the academic integrity and endeavour in the strongest possible terms and stringent action will be taken against anyone found to be transgressing”.

Speaking generally, he said: “We are unable to comment on the veracity of claims made on social platforms. Staff and students are urged to lodge any complaints through the university’s internal processes.”

UKZN suspended all academic activity on Monday to stand in solidarity with protests against gender-based violence.

The discussion around gender-based violence, especially toward young people, has reached boiling point recently, in the wake of the death of University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana, who was raped and murdered at a post office.

New vice-chancellor Professor Nana Poku, in an internal communication to staff and students, outlined a plan to curb gender-based violence, adding that UKZN was in the process of appointing a retired judge to speed up pending cases. UKZN is also looking to employ a full-time proctor to ensure matters are concluded quickly, and is working on developing a mobile app to connect students with the university’s risk management services for emergency situations.

Other efforts include:

• Establishing a mechanism to refer complaints of gender-based violence with counselling services and the police;

• UKZN’s student support services will act as a single point of contact to offer pre- and post-counselling service for students;

• Efforts are under way to strengthen campus clinic services using UKZN’s medical school and social sciences department;

• Mechanisms to remove and suspend perpetrators and provide safe spaces for survivors; and

• Developing educational programmes to raise awareness about gender-based violence, to be effected next year.

The Witness has written in the past about assaults at UKZN, and it was revealed last year that students were attacking and intimidating lecturers.

One victim of an assault told The Witness on Monday that her matter had taken more than a year to be concluded, and she eventually stopped attending hearings because of the trauma.

“UKZN has to take action now. The moment is right. If they don’t take action now they never will,” she said, when asked about the new efforts.

KZN teacher suspended over sexual misconduct

A teacher at Tongaat Secondary, outside Durban, has been suspended for allegations of sexual misconduct.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education said an investigation will be conducted into allegations that the male teacher had been caught exchanging “graphic material” on WhatsApp, including photos and text messages, with pupils. “The department distances itself from any sexual harassment/abuse, and would not hesitate to act against any sexual offenders within the education sector,” a statement read. 

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  sexual assault
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