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Ehlanzeni District Municipality continues its fight against GBVF on campuses

Many students from various local tertiary institutions gathered at this event to exchange ideas on how to combat this societal plague.

With the phrase ‘no means no’ chanted throughout the day’s programme at the Ehlanzeni District Municipality’s (EDM) Gender-based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) March and Awareness Campaign on Tuesday May 28, many students from various local tertiary institutions gathered in the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Mbombela Campus’s hall to share information on how to tackle this scourge.

The campaign formed part of EDM’s collaboration with TUT Mbombela in the continuous fight to prevent violence at higher education institutions and student residences in the district. In creating youthful ways to discuss and find solutions to the identified issue, groups of students of the Ehlanzeni VET College performed songs and a skit showcase, while the University of Mpumalanga’s (UMP) Tertia Nkosi and Mazwi Mgwenya shared information about sexuality and consent, and masculinity and the pressures that men face to conform to gender roles respectively.

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EDM’s strategic planning general manager, Dr Sipho Tibane.

The hosting president of the student representative council (SRC) at TUT Mbombela, Siyabonga Mbatha, encouraged these young people to report crime to campus or residence security services and the local police. “We need to respect one another and understand that no means no in whatever situation.

The prevention of violence starts with us by taking a stand to be respectful and encourage a civil society both in and outside the campus. Matters can also be reported to the SRC, and we will assist in getting these matters resolved. No student should be taken advantage of sexually or financially by lecturers or even members of the SRC. It is high time that such lecturers and SRC members are reported,” Mbatha said.

EDM’s strategic services general manager, Dr Sipho Tibane, said the established memorandum of understanding among the TUT, the UMP and Ehlanzeni TVET College is an action aimed to deal with the issue.

“An action plan was developed that includes the enrolment and training of GBVF safety ambassadors who will monitor on- and off-site facilities as well as crime hotspots. We have GBVF awareness campaigns, debate competitions and conferences. We seek to accumulate more partnerships with the private sector to support students with financial constraints such as food and toiletries.

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“Some of our goals are to develop a student hotline to report cases of GBVF and rapid response task teams, to resuscitate GBVF desks at campuses and enforce by-laws on non-complying businesses such as student residences and entertainment establishments.”

A member of TUT’s Mbombela Campus’s protection services, Carma Zanna, encouraged the attendees to learn self-defence techniques, while special guests Dr Tebogo Matoane-Nkabinde of the Office of the Premier and Mpumi Malope of the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional and Affairs emphasised the importance of financial independence and further education.

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