Unisa employee cleared of wrongdoing after sexual assault claim by naked protester

2019-03-19 11:22

The University of South Africa (Unisa) says one of its employees has been cleared of wrongdoing following a woman's claims that he asked her to perform sexual favours so she could keep her job at the Unisa Centre for Early Childhood Education (UCECE).

The investigation into the claims by Gugu Ncube was conducted by Unisa's internal employee relations directorate.

"It considered evidence in the form of SMS exchanges and witness statements/affidavits. Based on these, the investigation concluded that there was no merit to the allegations.

"Ms Ncube had also laid a charge of rape with the South African Police Service (SAPS), [and the] investigation also arrived at the conclusion that there was no merit to the allegation," Unisa spokesperson Martin Ramotshela told News 24 on Monday.

Unisa did not share a physical report or findings with News24.

Naked protest

Last week, Ncube was arrested after staging a naked protest at the Union Buildings.

She said she wanted to alert President Cyril Ramaphosa of the alleged abuse she had suffered at the hands of Unisa, as well as the SAPS.

But, instead of meeting the president, police arrested and charged her with public indecency.

RELATED: WATCH: Woman arrested during naked protest at Union Buildings

During the demonstration, Ncube repeated her sexual harassment claims, which the man she accused denied.

"Our client has denied the allegations and there were no findings against him. In fact, in January last year, [Ncube] retracted the allegations," his lawyer Jeffrey Maluleke told News24 on Monday.

While the institution confirms that the man is an employee, it says that he served in the UCECE in his personal capacity.

"He served on the Board of Trustees of UCECE in his private capacity or deployed by another entity. He was not deployed by Unisa to the board," Ramotshela explained.

The institution also said the UCECE was an independent entity established in terms of the Trust Property Control Act 57 of 1988, which had its own board of trustees and ran its own affairs.

"Unisa has no authority whatsoever to interfere in the affairs of UCECE. Whilst the university respects the rights of its employees to serve on boards and other structures outside the university, this does not translate into the university having the right to interfere in the affairs of the structures.

"UCECE is no exception," Ramotshela said.

Unisa claims to have never distanced itself from Ncube's allegations but rather sought to clarify its relationship with the crèche where she was employed.

"As a matter of fact, being privy to other dynamics of the case that are not in the public domain, the university is currently engaging a variety of internal and external stakeholders with a view to establishing how best to offer assistance to Ms Ncube, considering the difficult emotional period she might be going through," Ramotshela added.

On Twitter, Ncube posted what appeared to be a staff card with an employee number attributed to Unisa.

Alleged UNISA staff card posted online by Gugu Ncu

Alleged UNISA staff card (Supplied: @gw_ncube)

"For purposes of access control, the crèche staff are issued with Unisa access cards. The issuing of an access card is not a confirmation of employment by Unisa, but just a means of facilitating and controlling access to and out of the Unisa premises.

"Access cards are issued to staff, students and contractors rendering a service on university premises," Ramotshela said in response.

Ncube's attorney, Mpho Nefuri told News24 that she was not aware of any investigation or findings that cleared the alleged perpetrator.

"I don't know anything about this. We were not made aware of this.

"We have not even received any form of communication from Unisa at this point, only the media," she said.

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Read more on:    unisa  |  sexual assault  |  crime

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