13 July 2023 - NW2497
Sonti, Ms NP to ask the Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation
With reference to the fatal stabbing of a female student at a residence of the Nelson Mandela University, (a) what steps does he intend to take to mainstream security features across all institutions of higher learning to avoid incidents of gender-based violence and femicide continue to haunt institutions of higher learning and (b) by what date will the efforts be initiated?
The strategic interventions put in place by the Minister to combat gender violence and femicide in the sector include the publication of the Policy Framework to address Gender-Based Violence in the Post-School Education and Training System. The framework compels all PSET institutions to raise awareness about GBV; prevent the occurrence of GBV; and support survivors by having procedures for reporting and dealing with GBV.
Higher Health, which is the entity of the Department of Higher Education and Training has released a set of instruments that further strengthen the realisation of this policy framework. These include Procedural Guidelines on GBV, Sexual and Gender Related Misconduct in PSET Institutions; Protocol on Rape and Sexual Assault Cases in the PSET campuses; and Protocol on the PSET Code of Ethics. These instruments also serve as directives to all institutions to put the necessary infrastructure towards a comprehensive response on cases of sexual and gender misconduct, rape, sexual assaults across all our campuses.
All universities work cooperatively with Higher Health in implementing programmes towards addressing the challenges of sexual and gender-based violence within the PSET system. Its programme of implementation incorporates prevention, systems strengthening, capacity and skills building, care and support. In addition, I established the multisectoral PSET Gender-based Violence Technical Task Team to ensure the effective and coordinated implementation of the DHET GBV Policy Framework.
Funds have been made available in the Infrastructure Efficiency Grant (IEG) for safety and security projects submitted by universities to the Department. These include upgrading of universities security systems. I also committed to establish a National Task Force (NTF) which will assist in the development of intervention strategies to assist with campus safety and security measures.
With regards to the case of a student murdered at Nelson Mandela University, the university has confirmed that that perpetrator was arrested. The university with the assistance of Higher Health provided psychosocial support to affected students and staff.