UFH lecturer resigns in sex assault furore
A former University of Fort Hare lecturer accused of sexually assaulting a student resigned with immediate effect, the same day a second formal complaint was laid against him.
University spokesperson Khotso Moabi confirmed to the Daily Dispatch that a complaint of sexual assault came to the attention of university management of the university, “but was not processed as the lecturer in question had resigned by then”.
Moabi said the lecturer resigned via an e-mail on October 19 without notice “meaning his last day of work was the 19th October 2018”.
Moabi said disciplinary inquiry proceedings against the lecturer for a previous complaint were initiated and completed.
“His resignation came while the university is awaiting for the disciplinary inquiry chairperson report and findings,” said Moabi.
Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Hazel Mqala confirmed to the Daily Dispatch that one case of sexual assault was reported.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Tsepo Ndwalaza meanwhile said that both cases were still under police investigation.
“The dockets have not been handed to the prosecutor. I can only comment once the matter is in court,” he said.
SRC deputy president Sonwabiso Mamkeli said upon receiving the complaint, they went straight to the faculty to enquire about the allegations.
“We were satisfied with how they handled the matter,” he said.
He said they were very clear of their stance as the SRC on the issue of gender-based violence.
“There is no room for sexual violence and any kind of abuse that seeks to undermine female students.”
A source from the university, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed the first victim stopped attending modules taught by the lecturer.
“As the accused was already undergoing disciplinary hearing for the first case, he should not have been around students,” said the source.
Moabi said the university viewed sexual harassment as serious allegations, saying the matter was dealt with with the urgency it deserved.
Aphiwe Ntlemeza of Stand As One Against Gender-based Violence, said they were worried that cases of sexual assault against students were still happening and that victims were not getting the necessary support.
“Policies are there, but not implemented. Nothing much has been done against the perpetrators,” she said.