Female students protest at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University after alleged sexual assault
Pretoria - Female students at the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University are demanding that the university management play open cards with cases of gender-based violence reported and fire certain security personnel.
The university was forced to temporarily suspend academic activities at its campus north of the city, as a group of students began protesting on Monday morning.
This after an alleged sexual assault of a student at one of the university’s private off-campus residences in the Pretoria CBD amongst other issues.
According to Dr Eric Pule, the university spokesperson, the female student was allegedly sexually assaulted on Sunday around 8am in the morning while on her way to purchase groceries.
Pule, said after being notified of the incident the university management reached out to the female student who was taken to the hospital to assist with her recovery as well as psychological support.
“The university management understands this is not an easy situation for her and we are committed to doing our best to make sure she is supported during this time.”
Other issues students raised according to the university spokesperson included concerns regarding security, protection of their identities, and lighting in university at night as they said they felt unsafe.
The students are also requesting that the university increase the number of cameras on campus, beef-up security personnel, and present all cases reported by female students to find out how they were dealt with.
As well as for certain staff members to be fired especially the security personnel as they were not complying.
“We understand that this is a sensitive issue but we have to follow some of the legal and labour processes to see the competency of the staff members they have suggested to be fired.”
“The university management is still to engage the students because we know we need to listen and adhere to their requests to finalise matters speedily to allow them to finish the academic year as a lot of time was already wasted due to Covid-19.”
Attempts to solicit comments from the protesting students outside the campus proved difficult as students would not let the media close and indicated they were not ready to speak as yet as they did not want to be identified.