Gender Commission welcomes roll-out of GBV policy at institutions of higher learning

The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) welcomes an initiative by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) to roll-out gender based violence (GBV) Policy in institutions of Higher Learning. As the Commission, we believe the GBV Policy would assist universities and colleges with a set of standards and guidelines on how to address issues of gender based violence within their respective institutions. That being said, the policy must look at dynamic issues that exist within these institutions and hold provisions to realise immediate practical implementation.

Through the Commission for Gender Equality Gender Transformation Hearings in the Institutions of Higher Learning, we have observed that various institutions have sexual harassment policies in place, however the disjuncture in particular with the existing policies is their implementation and impact or lack thereof.

The CGE is cognizant that the GBV Policy seeks to have a conducive and secure environment for both students and personnel, however that should not come at the detriment of their fundamental rights and freedoms. This GBV Policy should also call for a renewed activism by communities around institutions of higher learning to be partners in ensuring that the GBV scourge is eradicated.

The CGE is making a clarion call to the Institutions of Higher Learning to work closely with the South African Police Services (SAPS) in rolling out of the GBV Policy. This will ensure that the partnership between the police, communities and institution of higher learning is enhanced. Institutions of higher Learning equally must not in any way try to protect the perpetrators of gender based violence.

They must ensure that they follow the set standards and guidelines so that there are no inconsistencies in application. The CGE is also appealing to the DHET to ensure availability of adequate financial resources for effective implementation of the policy.

The CGE if called upon by either by the Department of Higher Education and Training or Institutions of Higher Learning will avail itself to assist with building capacity in an endeavour to create a society free from gender oppression and inequality. Gender based violence requires a consented effort from all sectors of our society and the institutions of higher learning offers platform to create responsible men that will help educate fellow-men against the scourge, said Ms. Lulama Nare, the Chairperson of the Commission for gender Equality.

Source: Government of South Africa