Higher Education Minister concerned about banned students

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Higher Education Minister Professor Hlengiwe Mkhize says she is deeply concerned about the lifetime ban imposed on two student activists by Rhodes University.

Two students were banned from the University for life, after participating in an anti-rape protest at the institution in Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape in April last year.

The University found them guilty on several charges including kidnapping and assault after four male students were dragged out of their dorm rooms, spat on and assaulted with empty water bottles.

Professor Mkhize has described the matter as troubling. She says as a staunch feminist and lifelong advocate for education and training – she cannot sit back and watch while these students are victimised.

“We cannot be naive or simplistic. We have to take a deep look at our policies, especially the protection measures of young women in our institutions. One has a responsibility to formally ask the university to inform me as to what is going on, because my duty is to really stand on the sides of victims and to make sure that they don’t encounter double victimisation,” explains the Minister.