The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) will launch a probe into the sexual harassment allegations made by former UNISA employee Gugu Ncube against a UCECE employee.
Former University of South Africa (UNISA) employee, Gugu Ncube, was arrested outside the Union Buildings for staging a one-woman nude protest on Wednesday, 13 March 2019, and charged with public indecency. In a video that went viral, Ncube could be seen wearing just underwear, and could be heard accusing Mhlava Edward Shibambu, who is a board member of UNISA’s Centre for Early Childhood Education (UCECE), of sexual harassment. The CGE will investigate Ncube’s allegations.
”As empowered by Section 187 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa…the commission shall investigate any gender-related issues of its own accord or receipt of a complaint and shall endeavour to resolve any dispute or rectify any act or omission by mediation, conciliation or negotiation,” it said in a statement issued on Wednesday, 13 March 2019.
The announcement of a probe by CGE comes after Sonke Gender Justice called for an urgent and independent investigation into Ncube’s allegations. The group says that Ncube turned to this radical form of protest because she was seeking justice and her cries for help had fallen on deaf ears.
“By not taking each and every allegation of sexual violence seriously, we send a message that survivors are not to be believed and perpetuate a feeling of powerlessness and despair – fuelling underreporting of GBV,” said the group’s legal and litigation manager Kayan Leung.
On the evening of Ncube’s arrest, UNISA issued a statement addressing Ncube’s accusations. In the statement, the University said this was not Ncube’s first time making these accusations. The University distanced itself from the incident, stating that UCECE is an independent entity and all contracts are handled by it, and not UNISA.
“Its is regrettable that Ms Ncube is persisting with her action of dragging the name of UNISA into her disrepute with UCECE…Whilst we respect her right for what she believes is unfair treatment towards her, we appeal to her to desist from her actions; and that the name of the university should not be dragged into this matter as it is solely between herself and UCECE,” read the statement.