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88 alleged rapes reported on campus last year

Two Tshwane South TVET college students opened rape cases against a lecturer in July last year. Image:Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Two Tshwane South TVET college students opened rape cases against a lecturer in July last year. Image:Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Mar 11, 2022

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Close to 90 rape cases were reported on public TVET college campuses across the country during 2021.

Higher Education and Training Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has revealed that data collated from colleges’ responses to the Survey Hub, a new reporting system, indicated that 88 alleged campus rape cases were reported last year.

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The highest number of cases - 50 in total - were reported in Eastern Cape-based colleges. Gauteng and the Free State reported a combined 31 cases and seven cases were reported in the Northern Cape/Western Cape.

Nzimande replied to written questions by the DA’s Chantel King, who asked for data on sexual assault cases reported in institutions over the past three academic years.

The data King asked for was collected for the first time in 2021, with the introduction of the Survey Hub, Nzimande said.

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“For 2019 and 2020 there was no standardised tool for reporting of data, while in 2021 colleges reported online through the Survey Hub.

Some data collected from colleges in 2020 recorded 26 rape cases on campus.

A further 16 cases of sexual assault, nine of touching and innuendo/insinuation, nine of incest, 11 of unwanted sexual touching and 15 of physical assault were recorded in 2020.

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In 2019, colleges recorded 15 cases of rape and 15 of physical assault.

Nzimande stressed that other incidents might not be reflected in the figures he divulged for the three past academic years.

“The reports from colleges varied (and) as such this cannot be taken as a true reflection of what transpires in colleges,” he said.

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“Reporting of sexual offences cases by individuals remains low in all post-school education and training institutions because of several factors such as the fear of stigmatisation, the unwillingness of survivors to expose perpetrators (especially in cases of intimate partners) and the fear of possible further victimisation and harassment.”

Some of the TVET-related rape cases were reported in newspapers last year. The case concerning a 21-year-old Vhembe TVET college student kidnapped, raped, stabbed multiple times and left for dead was widely reported.

The student was kidnapped from her room at Makwarela Location, Thohoyandou, on June 27, 2021.

Two Tshwane South TVET college students opened rape cases against a lecturer in July 2021. Reports indicated that he appeared before the Ga-Rankuwa Magistrate’s Court.

Nzimande had no data from universities, as it was not collated.

“The University Education Branch does not collect individual data on sexual offences. There is no standardised reporting mechanism which would outline how cases should be reported and managed,” he said.

However, Naledi Pandor, who formerly held Nzimande’s position, managed to get the data from universities in 2018.

Her written reply that year indicated that her office simply asked the universities for the data, which revealed the shocking statistic that 47 students were raped on campus.

UCT told Pandor that it had recorded nine rape incidents, making it the institution with the highest number of cases. It was followed by the Walter Sisulu University with seven.

The Tshwane University of Technology reported six rapes, there were five at the Nelson Mandela University and four at the University of Johannesburg.

@BonganiNkosi87

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