Dr Teddy Setshedi, Project leader of TUT’s GBV&F empowerment programme.
Dr Teddy Setshedi, the Project Leader, explained that due to the severity of the problem in the country, TUT’s GBV&F project has partnered with the SAPS National office under the leadership of Major General Thokozani Mathonsi Head: Social Crime Prevention and Visible Policing divisions.
“The SAPS will deploy a Liaison Officer per campus, tasked with investigating gender-based and femicide cases on and off-campus. We will also cater for student life at our accredited residences, which form a nucleus of the partnership, by forming a precinct in the roll-out activities,” he said.
One of the exciting developments from the project is the expected launch of a victim empowerment centre by MEC Honourable Faith Mazibuko at the South campus, early in December 2021. The centre will render services to aid student wellness, counselling and related support. Centre manager, Nomsa Bokaba will facilitate development support with her team of psychologists, “It will add profound value if we target all University campuses to establish such centres. In principle, our partner is geared to roll-out these programmes,” said Dr Setshedi.Since the introduction of the initiative, 65 staff members from the Soshanguve South and North campuses have already attended the empowerment programme workshops.
Dr Setshedi explained the importance of getting rid of the scourge of Gender Based Violence at TUT: “It is especially important since we are a people’s university providing access to education to people from all walks of life. Creating awareness about gender-based-violence is a MUST towards achieving much needed change on this issue,” he added.
Giving power to the project, attendees of the empowerment programme workshops, read out a “gender-based violence, sexual harassment and diversity pledge”, as a symbol of their commitment towards taking a stand against gender-based violence. Dr Setshedi, presented the practical implementation of the GBV&F empowerment programme during a campus safety colloquium in Cape Town in September, 2021. In a first for TUT, the colloquium brought together TUT staff members from different environments, including Prof Jacob Mofokeng, who was recently awarded the African Research Chair for Campus and School Public Safety.
Background to African Research Chair for Campus and School Public Safety
Towards the end of 2019, TUT and CASSTI (Campus and School Safety Training Institute) signed a memorandum of understanding to establish the research chair, a first of its kind on the African continent. This chair was conceptualized as part of the strategy to collate knowledge and enhance research and innovation capacity in areas of safety and security to shape public policy for sustainable solutions to crime, especially in the spaces of teaching and learning.
The chair is designed as a multidisciplinary initiative to address not only security issues, but also the underlying factors contributing towards violence in our society, in addition, the Chair aims to create a safe information hub and to serves as a resource for data and statistics for other partners in GBV, including the SAPS. Such information is vital, since a 2010 World Bank study clearly stated that violence is not simply a security issue, it has deep social and economic consequences that need to be addressed.
The Chair is a vital part of the initiative to contribute towards a safer community life, free of fear. CASSTI and TUT have generously provided resources to set up the chair.