The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) held a protest on Friday at the University of South Africa (Unisa) main campus in Pretoria in solidarity with former employee Gugu Ncube.
This as Unisa on Thursday said it had appointed an external legal firm to assess its investigation into a sexual harassment complaint laid by Ncube against former colleague Shibambu Mhlava.
Ncube worked at the Unisa Centre for Early Childhood Education (UCECE) when the alleged sexual harassment occurred. Ncube was arrested and charged with public indecency earlier this month after she protested at the Union Buildings against Unisa’s handling of her complaint.
In a statement, Numsa’s second deputy president Ruth Ntlokotse said they were dismayed and disappointed that Unisa decided to abdicate its responsibility when Ncube first raised the issue of sexual harassment.
Ntlokose said that Ncube, like many survivors of sexual assault and harassment who have taken the brave step of naming their abuse or abusers, has routinely encountered disbelief, trivialisation, or minimisation of her experience.
“We are noting with great concern the lack of decisive leadership on the ongoing refusal of the university to take action against Mr Shibambu Mhlava of UCECE, who has been accused of harassing her,” Ntlokotse said.
“Ms Gugu Ncube was ignored by university management when she lodged the complaint, and she embarked on a semi-naked protest at Union Buildings to highlight her suffering and the manner in which the university has stripped her of her dignity.”
The university’s internal employee relations directorate had found that there is no substance to her complaint, hence the appointment of an external legal firm. Unisa undertook to share the outcomes of the finalisation of this assessment with all stakeholders.
– African News Agency