Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Engages the HEAIDS Technical Task Team on SGBV. 3/2/2017

Published by HEAIDS

The HEAIDS Technical Task Team on Sexual and Gender Based Volence
(SGBV) is continuing its work towards  developing a draft SGBV policy
and strategy framework for Higher Education to help shape a unified
response to Sexual and Gender based violence for all universities and
TVET colleges in South Africa. The Technical Task Team met today with
the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Mduduzi Manana to unveil the
road map  to be employed to roll-out new policies and measures in order
to improve safety of university and college students and staff. The
Policy and Strategy Framework that is scheduled to be unveiled in August
2017 is aimed at enabling institutions to create an environment where
staff and students can work and study without exposure to sexual
harassment, sexual assault and intimate partner violence and that will
be supported by a rapid and appropriate response that will be effective
in responding to incidences of sexual violence.

Many – but not all
– of the 76 higher education institutions, which work with two million
students and staff across some 420 campuses, have policies and
programmes to reduce and deal with SGBV. Reports of incidents and
institutional, legal and health-related responses indicate inconsistent
application of policies and availability of services. Inadequate
protection and assistance for rape survivors and ineffective prosecution
of perpetrators are frequently a concern, and contribute to compounding
the harm caused by sexual assaults in the first place.

The
proposed Sexual and Gender Based Violence Policy and Strategy Framework
for Higher Education seeks to be a holistic intervention that will focus
on education, enforcement, engagement, and evaluation to ensure that
change is achieved. Briefing the Deputy Minister, Ms Sianne Abrahams,
the chairperson of Strategic Programmes sub-committee of the Technical
Task team for ,  said the sub-committee is exploring short to medium
term strategies . This will include, amongst others,  the Deputy
Minister’s dialogue series across institutions in the coming months,
commencing with a Dialogue at the University of Zululand later in
February.  It is intended that in the immediate short term an audit will
be conducted at universities and colleges to better understand their
context and needs in relation to SGBV policy and programming .

Speaking
at the HEAIDS offices today, Deputy Minister Manana acknowledged
that the Technical Task Team had a difficult task ahead of them but that
he is assured that they are ‘equal to the task’. He reiterated the
Department of Higher Education and Training’s commitment to the roll out
a comprehensive programme to address sexual and gender-based violence
across the higher education and training sector.