Minister of Higher  Education Naledi Pandor Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
Minister of Higher Education Naledi Pandor Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Task team set up by Naledi Pandor to monitor scourge at universities

By RUDZANI MATSHILI Time of article published May 29, 2019

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Pretoria - The higher education and training minister in the last government term, Naledi Pandor, has appointed a nine-person task team to advise the department on sexual harassment and gender-based violence at public universities. The task team was given 12 months, starting from June, to complete its mandate.

The department’s spokesperson, Lunga Ngqengelele, said the appointment was a response to an open letter by academics to the minister in March.

The group, from different higher education institutions, urged the government to launch a special inquiry into sexual offences against staff and students. They further noted that sexual offences had become normalised in higher education and affected black women employees, who were pressured to exchange sex for jobs.

“Following the letter, the minister met the group of academics to discuss the proposals they had made. The meeting agreed that addressing sexual harassment and gender-based violence decisively would allow for a focus on fundamental academic questions and restore academic cultures that respected freedom and citizenship of all,” said Ngqengelele.

The task team will also advise on a possible inquiry into sexual harassment in the university sector.

Ngqengelele said: “Appropriate levels of support will be put in place at public universities with a view of improving monitoring and reporting.”

He said the team would identify policy weaknesses across institutions that may be contributing to failures in this regard. Also, a policy framework to address gender-based violence in the post-school education and training sector had been released for public comment.

Pretoria News

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