Academics await to get response from Pandor on addressing sex offences

The activists have berated how sexual offences have become normalised in institutions of higher learning and say this is affecting black women employees in particular who are pressured to exchange sex for employment.

FILE: Minister of Higher Education and Training Naledi Pandor. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The group of academics from different higher learning institutions that wants government to investigate sexual offences meted against staff and students is waiting in anticipation to get a response to their demands.

The activists have berated how sexual offences have become normalised in institutions of higher learning and say this is affecting black women employees in particular who are pressured to exchange sex for employment.

The academics who describe themselves as a collective of black women and gender non-binary people say, students mostly from underprivileged backgrounds, are also vulnerable to the abuse.

Dr Siphokazi Magadla is a co-signatory to the letter said: “There has been moments where universities at individual levels have been forced to look at how they respond to sexual harassment and sexual violence. But what we are seeing is that we need an approach from the sector. Often there are rumours around individuals and there is no case that is reported.”

Protests by students through campaigns such as the #RUReferenceList at Rhodes University have brought into sharp focus the high levels of sex-related crimes in tertiary institutions across the country.