Sonke Gender Justice congratulates Yolanda Dyantyi and Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI-rights) on winning their case against Rhodes University on the expulsion of Ms. Dyantyi from the university. The Supreme Court of Appeal has set aside the guilty judgement by Rhodes University with costs.
It has been a long five years for Yolanda and her legal team since her exclusion from Rhodes University in 2017. Yolanda was found guilty of alleged kidnapping, insubordination, and defamation during the #RhodesReferenceList protests.
The campaign was a deep cry response by female students at Rhodes University who felt strongly that the institution was not dealing with reported cases of sexual violence and rape inadequately. Ms Dyantyi was subsequently permanently excluded from Rhodes University and interdicted from attending the university for any purpose from November 2017.
Ms Dyantyi was part of the peaceful anti-GBV protest at the university after a list of alleged sexual offenders trended on social media and the university acted against students who named the alleged offenders.
The Supreme Court of Appeal reviewed and set aside Rhodes University’s conviction of permanently excluding Yolanda Dyantyi and has remitted the matter to the university for “reconsideration on condition that any continuation of the disciplinary inquiry against Ms Dyantyi shall take place before another proctor.”
Sonke Gender Justice #StandsWithYolanda and condemns the insensitivity and callous way in which Rhodes University handled the matter. Like Ms Dyantyi, many victims of sexual violence have been failed by higher institutions of learning and have had their lives disrupted and derailed. This judgement is an important lesson for other institutions confronted by similar cases to refrain from secondary victimization and silencing of students.
We admire Ms Dyantyi and SERI-Rights’s bravery and resilience. We hope that the judgement sends a strong message that institutions of higher learning must manage such cases with due regard for the law and justice.
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Bafana Khumalo, Co-Executive Director and Co-Chairperson, Global MenEngage Alliance: firstname.lastname@example.org or 082 -578-4479.
Given Sigauqwe, CSI Manager, Sonke Gender Justice, email@example.com or 073-988-2870