BY SILAS NKALA
LUPANE State University (LSU) vice-chancellor (VC) Pardon Kuipa has been accused of sexually abusing female employees at the institution, resulting in a protest march against him on Tuesday.
The protesting women under the banner, Umama Wesizwe sikaMthwakazi, petitioned the LSU registrar to launch a probe into reports of sexual abuse and harassment of women by Kuipa.
LSU registrar Jairos Makunde declined to comment and referred Southern Eye to the university spokesperson Zwelithini Dlamini who confirmed the charges against Kuipa.
Dlamini said: “From the brief that l just received, l confirm that a group of women visited the registrar and presented a petition to him.
“The position of the university is that intensive sensitisation of both staff and students should be carried out so that people are adequately informed about sexual harassment issues.
“Management has, therefore, engaged the Gender Commission to conduct workshops.”
Kuipa was appointed vice-chancellor in 2015.
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part of the petition against him read: “We have concerns of alleged sexual harassment of women inat LSU by the VC. We, therefore, demand that in the interest of justice and the fulfilment of the right to administrative justice espoused in section 68 of the Constitution, the case be investigated and the accused charged accordingly.”
“Our concern is that according to news on June 22, 2021, it was reported that a sexual harassment scandal has rocked LSU where a female staff member accused the VC of sexually harassing and victimising her for turning down his advances. No action has been taken against the perpetrator.”
The women said charges against Kuipa were serious as they violated fundamental rights and privileges of women as human beings as stipulated in the Constitution.
“In light of this provision, section 65 confers labour rights on every person and refers to harassment as constituting a violation of the constitutionally protected right to fair labour standards and also violates the right to full and equal dignity.
“The right to fair and safe labour standards is realised under the provisions of the Labour Act (Chapter 28:01) whose primary purpose is regulation of the employer-employee relationship.
“The Act narrowly defines sexual harassment through inference from section 8(h) which provides for unfair labour practices, such as engaging in unwelcome sexually determined behaviour towards an employee, whether verbal or otherwise, such as making physical contact or advances.”
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