Durban – Two lecturers at an Umlazi college who allegedly said they would not teach a gay student have been suspended.

Their suspension was announced to the media on Wednesday at the Coastal KZN TVET College in Umlazi’s BB section.

College principal Sbhanana Ndlovu condemned the alleged “homosexual abuse”. The abuse was allegedly hurled at Bheka Khanyile, 20, a second-year office administration student from Umlazi. He claims the lecturers said they teach boys and girls and not people in the middle.

“I was wearing skinny jeans and it was the first day I came to school with braids. They asked me why I was wearing girl’s clothes and doing my hair like a girl. They said I had come all the way from Pietermaritzburg to embarrass my parents by pretending to be a girl,” said Khanyile.

After the incident last Monday, Khanyile said he reported it to the SRC but he received apologies which he felt were “brush-offs”.

Ndlovu said they received a formal letter of complaint from Khanyile on Tuesday and suspended the lecturers – on full pay – on Wednesday.

“We want to give our learners, parents, stakeholders and community an assurance that our institutions are safe and no one will be unfairly discriminated against.”

The lecturers have seven days to lodge an objection to their suspension which is otherwise expected to last 30 days pending an investigation. Once the matter is finalised, the suspension could either be lifted and the lecturers allowed to return to school, or they could be dismissed, depending on the findings of the disciplinary hearing to be conducted by the college’s central human resources department.

The college said they had arranged for Khanyile to receive trauma counselling.

The college also said it would arrange workshops on inclusivity.

“We need to deal with this as an institution to make sure it does not happen again. Starting with this campus, we are going to make sure that we train and capacitate our lecturers and support staff to deal with people inclusively.”

The Mercury