Cape Town - The UCT Queer Revolution (UCTQR) collective has lodged formal complaints with the Human Rights Commission, UCT Ombudsman and the university’s Discrimination and Harassment Office about SRC vice-president Zizipho Pae’s controversial social media post .
Pae posted the Facebook message, “We are institutionalising and normalising sin! Sin. May God have mercy on us” on June 28.
Pae is SRC vice-president: external, and had been acting SRC president while SRC president Ramabina Mahapa is on leave. She has admitted that the statement was in reaction to a recent US Supreme Court ruling sanctioning same-sex marriages.
Last week the SRC suspended Pae from her role as acting president, but she remains the organisation’s vice-president: external.
The UCTQR held a press conference at Molly Blackburn Hall on Tuesday highlighting various concerns and calling for Pae’s removal from the SRC.
The UCT queer community also suggested that UCT institute workshops to address issues of sexuality at the university.
Pam Dhlamini, one of the UCTQR leaders, said: “The queer community is deeply hurt by Ms Pae’s status and we feel that UCT is ignoring our pain.
“We fear that her status may cause further violence towards the queer community and we demand that UCT and the SRC take immediate action to remove Ms Pae from her position of influence as a student leader.”
Other concerns raised were that UCT management is “apathetic and inconsistent” in dealing with complaints of discrimination from the queer community at the university.
UCT management said it received a statement from UCTQR on Tuesday.
“We will engage with the points raised in this document and support the work and goals of UCTQR as we recognise that many members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community face harassment and ongoing discrimination in society, often as an everyday occurrence,” UCT spokesperson Pat Lucas said.
She said UCT management noted the formal complaint against Pae.
“We note the call for Ms Pae’s removal from the SRC. We believe the SRC will give full attention to every aspect of this matter,” she said.
“UCTQR has taken the initiative to propose a possible solution to the problem of discrimination against people based on gender identity.
“We welcome the suggestions and we will consider it as a potential component of the university’s wider transformation plan.”
Mahapa has refused to comment on the matter until after the SRC meets on July 21.
Pae did not respond to the Cape Times’ requests for comment on Tuesday.