News & Media

Unisa acts decisively to curb the scourge of gender-based violence

Dr Marcia Socikwa. Vice-Principal: Operations and Facilities, speaking at the launch.

On Friday 4 October 2019, the University of South Africa (Unisa) launched an initiative to provide all female students with defensive pepper spray units. As an active response to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call to find solutions to the unacceptable levels of gender-based violence in the country, this initiative is but one of the many interventions planned by Unisa.

Speaking at the launch event at the university’s Sunnyside Campus in Tshwane, Prof Mandla Makhanya, Unisa’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, said that the scourge of violence against women is a major concern to society at large. "We must acknowledge as a society that we have reached a point of no return when it comes to gender-based violence," he said. "We should be embarrassed by the situation. Every person deserves to be recognised as a human being, yet as a society we have descended to a level so low that even animals would be scared to be associated with us."

Prof Makhanya expressed the hope that the move will go some way towards mitigating the risk that students, especially women, face when travelling from their homes to the university’s facilities. "We have realised that if we do not act to protect our female students, we will live to regret it," he concluded.

The initiative was made possible in part by generous donations by Unisa’s executives and extended management. Following the launch event, distribution will continue at the university’s many regional facilities across the country.

From left: Moipone Masalesa, Acting Executive Director: Student Affairs and Regional Services; Rudorwashe Mpofu, Tshwane RSRC Treasurer; Prof Mandla Makhanya, Principal and Vice-Chancellor; Zona Majambe, NSRC Education and Training Officer; and Dr Marcia Socikwa, Vice-Principal: Operations and Facilities

* By Edgar Rathelele, Media Officer, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2019/10/07