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Minister concerned about Rhodes University ban on anti-rape marchers

Rhodes has been slammed for what’s been widely seen as a heavy sanction against the activists while another student accused of raped was suspended for 10 years.

Higher Education Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - Higher Education Minister Hlengiwe Mkhize says she’s concerned about a lifetime ban imposed by Rhodes University on two female students who participated in an anti-rape demonstrations on the Grahamstown campus.

It’s understood that the pair were part a group of female protesters who publicly identified four male students suspected of rape and allegedly dragged them out of their dorms.

Rhodes has been slammed for what’s been widely seen as a heavy sanction against the activists while another student accused of raped was suspended for 10 years.

The university, however, insists that the expulsions are not related to the right to demonstrate and says they were sanctioned for committing acts of criminality and violating the rights and liberties of others.

Meanwhile, one of the students who has been permanently expelled from the university says she has been unfairly criminalized by the institution and not given an opportunity to defend herself.

Yolanda Dyantyi and another student have been expelled for life from the institution over anti-rape protests at the Grahamstown campus in 2016.

Dyantyi and her legal representatives are speaking at a media briefing in Braamfontein on Friday morning.

She has accused Rhodes University of favouring alleged perpetrators of rape and placing the onus on survivors to prove their truth.

“I’ve been given an unfair process. They do everything in their power to paint me as a person not deserving to even be given a fair trial.”

Her legal representative, Nomzamo Zondo, says Dyantyi was not given the opportunity to testify at the disciplinary hearing against her.

“They then said Yolanda waived her right to tell her side of the story. Because one, on the basis that a legal representative was not available, two, she was writing an exam. They are saying she should not have gone to write the exam.”

A protest is planned near Parliament on Friday morning in support of the two expelled activists.

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