Unisa seen from a distance. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)
Unisa seen from a distance. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Unisa probing sex, online harassment claim against SRC member

By Goitsemang Tlhabye Time of article published Jul 15, 2021

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Pretoria - Unisa has asked for time and space to investigate allegations of sexual harassment against a student leader.

According to the university, the decision followed a statement on Friday by the Student Representative Council (SRC) alleging, among other things, that it had received a complaint of sexual harassment made against its member.

The university said subsequently a meeting between management and the SRC had been planned.

It added the issue of sexual harassment was viewed as one of a serious nature that had to be responded to promptly.

In a statement, Unisa said the complaint was formally lodged against at member of the SRC. Another complaint of online harassment was also made.

The matter has also been reported to the relevant law enforcement agencies. The Office of the Dean of Students has, according to the university, already initiated an internal process to investigate both complaints and would take the appropriate steps, working through the Student Disciplinary Office once investigations were completed.

"The university will ensure that the rights and dignity of the affected parties are safeguarded throughout this process and that this matter is attended to and concluded as speedily as possible.

"The university will also afford the necessary space and respect to the external process being handled by the SAPS in relation to the sexual harassment complaint and will co-operate with this investigation should it be required to do so."

Regarding the specific complaint against a members of the SRC, the university appealed to all stakeholders to allow the internal process that had been initiated to run its course without any hindrance, undue influence or pressure.

SRC president Wandile Giwu said he was not in a position to comment.

Last month, the Tshwane University of Technology also announced it had suspended a student accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student at the Soshanguve North Campus pending the outcome of investigations.

Speaking shortly after reports of the incident surfaced online, university spokesperson Phaphama Tshisikhawe said they had immediately suspended the student after the matter was brought to the attention of the university management.

She added that security mechanisms were in place, with awareness campaigns being rolled out continuously on the institutions' various campuses.

Pretoria News

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