Fort Hare condemns assault on female student after video of attack goes viral

The University of Fort Hare has condemned the assault of a female student by a male student, after a video of the attack went viral.

"The university condemns the assault in the strongest terms and is further investigating the incident, with the aim of taking decisive disciplinary action. The university has offered the affected student counselling and all the support at its disposal," university spokesperson Khotso Moabi said on Monday.

According to the university, the incident occurred on Saturday.In two other videos - which also went viral - a large group of mainly women paraded the male student through the university and reprimanded him for his alleged behaviour in public.

Moabi said the university took action when they became aware of the incident.

"Immediately, our protection services went into gear to investigate and apprehend the accused with the assistance of the South African Police Services."

Moabi said the university management was "very concerned at the rate at which incidents of this nature continue to plague us, more especially during the Women's Month".

"We wish to assure all concerned that we will do all in our power to militate against such at the university for the betterment of our society and our students."

Colonel Sibongile Soci said the police were aware of the video, adding that gender-based violence was seen in a "very serious light". 

Soci said they had made contact with the victim and the perpetrator, who was also allegedly assaulted by the friends of the victim.

He said both had indicated that they would not be opening cases. "Our call to other gender-based violence victims who find themselves in similar positions is to make use of the services available to them. Our FCS units in the province have specialised detectives with expertise in similar cases, and are always on hand to investigate," Soci said.

Alice cluster commander Brigadier Piet Wolvaard said he hoped that the victims would open cases after they received counselling from the institution.

"It remains concerning for the SAPS that victims of gender-based violence do open cases and close them a few days later. Many GBV (gender-based violence) victims are not willing to see the cases through the justice system and this is concerning as it looks like cases are only opened when people are still angry at each other," Wolvaard said.