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Ramaphosa to meet with university vice-chancellors to address student safety

This came after management at all 26 universities asked for a meeting, saying they wanted to discuss what they called an epidemic of incomprehensible violence.

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses protesters against gender-based violence outside of Parliament on 5 September 2019. He was accompanied by Minister of Human Settlements Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu and other officials. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday announced that he would meet with vice-chancellors of all universities to discuss the scourge of gender-based violence and the safety of students.

This came after management at all 26 universities asked for a meeting, saying they wanted to discuss what they called an epidemic of incomprehensible violence.

Ramaphosa was speaking during his visit to the home of slain University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana in the Eastern Cape on Friday ahead of her funeral on Saturday.

The 19-year-old was raped and killed by a post office employee in Cape Town last week.

Her murder sparked outrage and prompted renewed calls for government to act harshly against perpetrators of gender-based violence.

Ramaphosa told Mrwetyana’s family that their daughter’s murder has once again demonstrated that gender-based violence has reached a turning point.

“Enough is enough; we’ve reached a turning point and we are now going to turn a new leaf and deal with gender-based violence in a much more focused manner.”

He said he would hold a meeting with key stakeholders to discuss ways to fight the scourge at universities.

“I will meet vice-chancellors of our various universities as well as the minister and deputy minister and I will include in that meeting the premiers of our province where there are universities so that we can start on our focus on what is the issue at our universities where young women are being abused.”

The president promised Mrwetyana’s family that government will review laws and ensure perpetrators of gender-based violence were met with harsh sentences.

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