Gugu Ncube’s claims of rape and sexual harassment at UNISA must be independently reviewed to prove her case.
For the record, we e would like to state publicly that through this comment, Mafikeng Mail does not intend to judge any person or organisation who or which might have expressed a view or be involved in the recent Gugu Ncube saga which led a lot of condemnation and a lesser support for from members of the public across the spectrum.
Last week Ncube protested peacefully in front of the Union Building partly dressed demanding in a placard to be addressed by President Cyril Ramaphosa alleging that she was raped, sexually harassed and that the CCMA had taken a bribe from her accuser allegedly involved in her case.
It is common knowledge that Ncube chose that radical form of protest in an attempt to seek justice for the alleged incident involving a senior official from UNISA for which she was also dismissed from her position at the UNISA Centre for Early Childhood Education (UCECE) after she had reported the matter.
She also expressed concern about the process, in which her sexual harassment claim was handled including by the CCMA,
From the number of wide-spread objections raised by the public, it was obvious that Ncube’s case was badly handled by the police who forcefully removed and arrested the protesting “sexually harassed” victim from the Union Building precinct.
In their response to the issue, the civil society organisation, Sonke Gender Justice argues that “it is paramount to have clear and accountable mechanisms for dealing with allegations of sexual harassment which includes transparent sexual harassment policies and Code of Conduct that are accessible to the public to ensure efficacy”.
UNISA on their part, around the entire saga, dispels the allegations, stating that due process was followed and, “it was established that there was no basis to charge the staff members concerned with the alleged offences.”
Like Sonke, we certainly support any form of peaceful protest and condemns what has been considered “excessive use of force by the police”.
It is also common knowledge that protests of that kind were not new to South Africa. South Africa has seen what can be dubbed numerous “outrageous” ways of airing one’s views or frustrations including stripping in front of the President without being arrested or even man handled.
It was obvious that Ncube had reached a point of real desperation and was about to give up any hope of receiving a fair hearing from all angles. Her only hope, Ncube had decided, was President Cyril Ramaphosa.
It was also obvious that she now needed help and we believe that the only real assistance she can be satisfied with would be an independent, transparent review which should be open to all spheres including government, private, public and civil society.
The results must be there for everybody to see whether indeed she was raped and sexually harassed. It must be proven publicly whether UNISA had indeed “lied” that she did resign and was not dismissed as she claimed. The university must be able to produce her resignation letter (which she was not forced to write).
Her biggest challenge however, would be to prove that indeed, the CCMA official had taken the bribe from her alleged rapist. We therefore join calls by SGJ for an urgent independent review of her alleged rape and sexual harassment claim.