South Africa: Gender Commission should enquire into Policies Meant to Guard against Violence against Women � Committee Chairperson

Violence against women and children is a violation of a constitutionally enshrined right, the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training Ms Connie September said.

Institutions of higher learning are places of empowering both women and men through skills enhancement and knowledge. These cannot be turned into places of crime and violence,rdquo; she said.

Parliament will continue to take up its responsibility of holding institutions, statutory bodies, government departments and chapter 9 institutions to account on why the prevalence of violent abuse of women is increasing. Arising out of our engagement with the Human Rights Commission that has pointed out this phenomenon, the committee will start in the coming Parliamentary term by having the Commission on Gender Equality before it.

We want them to report to us what steps they have taken to deal with gender based violence in institutions of higher learning. The committee is appalled that during the month of women’s emancipation, young women still seem to, not been offered their constitutional right to freely report abuse at some institutions.rdquo;

The committee calls on the Department of Higher Education and Training and all institutions to put in place policies violence against women as a matter of urgency.rdquo;

No students have to resort to taking their own lives as a cry of help. This is a terrible blot in our new democracy. We convey our condolences to the family of Khensani Maseko and as a way of comforting them, we will continue to hold all those responsible to account.rdquo;

The committee looks forward to the efforts made by the Police in trying to fight violence against women not only on university campuses, but also throughout the society. The committee also calls on students to contact it, if there are lapses in institutional policies on gender violence.

Source: Republic of South Africa: The Parliament