Former Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, says the due process should be allowed to take place in relation to allegations of sexual assault against Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana.
Madonsela was speaking at an expert dialogue on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in institutions of Higher Learning held at Stellenbosch University.
Allegations of sexual misconduct against Minister Godongwana have been in the public discourse. The former Public Protector says justice agencies should be allowed space to deal with the matter.
Chairperson of Law Trust in Social Justice at Stellenbosch University says the allegations are quite saddening but that as a nation we should be careful of allegations.
“This is what has been confirmed and you know me, I always say let’s give the process time. Let’s hear what his response will be, for instance, if the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has decided to charge him, we will assume that they have a clear case against him, but until that, it’s not fair to start thinking if he should be stepping aside,” adds the chairperson.
The discussion was meant to establish the causes of Gender-Based Violence and to develop response mechanisms to the scourge.
Stellenbosch University has faced a number of GBV incidents in the recent past. The Commission on Gender Equality found that the University was not dealing decisively with cases of GBV 2 years ago.
Root cause of GBV
Experts converged here and virtually to discuss the root cause of GBV, its impact on society and the failures to formulate preventative measures.
The panel of experts agreed that most GBV incidents in South Africa emanated from historical trauma.
Deputy Chairperson of the Commission for Gender Equality, Dr Nthabiseng Moleko says South Africa is not a country at war, but statistics show that war is taking place in homes and schools – and this is the effect of generational trauma.
She explains, “Our response is not adequate in dealing with GBV. Over 60% of men who show pre-dispossession of trauma 33% are exposed to violence. Violence in society has become normalised. Economic inequality exacerbates the scourge and tendencies of men to exhibit traits of Patriarchy. Substance abuse is also a huge factor”.
Strong policies for gender transformation
The University says it has made strides to strengthen its policies that include gender transformation to deal with the cases of GBV.
“We do have a transformation plan at Stellenbosch University and is currently being revised and we are drafting a new transformation policy. This is quite an opportune time for us to think about these matters. We have made good strides and we had focus groups and students over the last years that involve their inputs and inputs of academics. We are trying to be proactive to prevent these incidents from occurring, if they occur you want to have systems in place to deal with them effectively.” says the University.
Allegations of sexual misconduct against Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana have been in the public discourse. The Former Public Protector says justice agencies should be allowed space to deal with the matter.
The panel echoed that a multi-pronged approach was needed to deal with cases of violence, starting with addressing social ills such as poverty, high unemployment and substance abuse.
It has also developed structures that deal specifically with GBV at institutions of higher learning.