On Wednesday the University of Cape Town (UCT) Student Representative Council (SRC) informed the UCT community that it had suspended two of its members pending separate investigations into allegations of rape and sexual harassment.
In an emailed statement, the SRC said one of the accused, a member of the EFF Student Command, had allegedly raped a student while the other accused, a member of the Pan-Africanist Student Movement of Azania (Pasma), allegedly sexually harassed the same student on a different occasion. Both suspended members are prominent fallists.
On Thursday, the university said in a statement that it is aware of the allegations and would be investigating the matter. It urged anyone with information of the alleged incidents to report it to Campus Protection Services. UCT however condemned the SRC email which publicly named both accused, saying it is against legal principles of fairness and justice and “may interfere with legal proceedings”.
In the statement, the university urged the UCT community to respect the legal process, adding that “alleged perpetrators are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law or through a disciplinary process.”
The EFF representative accused of the rape released a statement on Facebook, saying the accusations were part of a plot to smear his name and that he would be taking the UCT SRC and his accuser to court. “I have evidence and can in actual fact charge the accuser of the same coupled with coercion,” he said.
In a statement of its own, UCT Pasma said it had spoken to both the accused and the student who was allegedly raped to get clarity on the incident. Pasma said both individuals agree on the facts of the incident.
According to Pasma, the student and the accused had agreed to have sex but the student changed her mind in the end. The accused was allegedly unhappy with the decision, and slept with his back facing the student for the rest of the night. The student believes this to be a form of manipulation to induce sex. The accused, in turn, says this was not his intention and that he respected the student’s decision but was simply displaying disappointment.
The university said it will investigate the allegations through its formal legal channels, and take appropriate action once the matter is concluded.