Gender-based violence policy to be rolled out at higher learning institutions

Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Buti Manamela.
Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Buti Manamela.

The national department of higher education and training is set to roll out the first-ever gender-based violence policy in institutions of higher learning.

Speaking at a gender-based violence imbizo‚ at Coastal College Umlazi V campus‚ Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Buti Manamela said on Tuesday that the policy would be a comprehensive prevention‚ care and support gender-based violence programme that would be adopted nationally.

The deputy minister‚ who started his address by observing a moment of silence for Zolile Khumalo‚ a Mangosuthu University of Technology student who was allegedly murdered by her ex-boyfriend at a MUT residence‚ as well as and Jabulile Nhlapo‚ a University of South Africa student who had suffered the same fate. Both died last month.

"Let us take a moment of silence for countless young women who find themselves trapped in abusive relationships with no means of escape‚" the deputy minister said.

He said the policy would provide universities and colleges with a set of standards and guidelines on how to take civil action against perpetrators of gender-based violence on campus whether they were lecturers‚ students or university personnel.

Speaking on the high vulnerability and susceptibility to HIV that gender-based violence victims were faced with‚ the deputy minister said that the policy would also make provisions to provide post care and support‚ including access to post-exposure treatment.

"Not only will we aim to deter gender-based violence‚ but also ensure that victims are supported and linked to care and support‚" he said.

The policy is expected to be gazetted and finalised for release in the third quarter of 2018.

The imbizo was co-hosted by the Higher Education and Training Health‚ Wellness and Development Centre (HEAIDS) to tackle high rates of gender-based violence at educational institutions which adversely affect the performance of students and staff.

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