“We are a nation deeply wounded by callous, uncaring men who plot such heinous crimes with impunity.
The cries of our nation are heard from old men who bury their sons and daughters, wives who weep for their husbands, communities who endlessly bury young and old, infants and pregnant women.
This killing must stop” President Nelson Mandela
These iconic words came after the horrific assassination of comrade Chris Hani, offered in an attempt to console a grief stricken and enraged South Africa. It soothed a nation and reminded us of the future we are all fighting for.
However, today we say kwanele [Enough]!
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has heard the cries for government to declare a state of emergency and noted President Ramaphosa’s condemnation of the normalised violence against women and children, but South Africa now deserves action. Enough of the rise and fall tendency of support as political opportunists ride the waves of victims’ sorrows and enough of the hope sprinkled promises that are quickly forgotten under the weight of the next hot topic.
NTEU has commended progressive policy frameworks recently announced to eradicate the culture of gender-based harassment and violence in lecture halls and on campuses, but now our people must see them implemented.
“Those who seek to dehumanise others through acts of sexual harassment and violence must know their days are numbered. NTEU won’t stand for it!”, said NTEU NEC member for Social Justice, Vuyo Mazwi.
NTEU General Secretary, Grant Abbott, has highlighted that the NTEU policy on Sexual Harassment, adopted at the 2011 National Congress, equally acknowledges that students have the right to learn in an environment free from sex-based harassment.
"We therefore urge all employees on all campuses to help create such a safe, learning-conducive environment," he said.
And now, not only are our children not safe on campuses, but they cannot risk going to the post office.
Though the words of struggle leaders past still carry forward the values that every South African man, woman and child deserves it is time to bring these values into reality.
How can a parent go to work and apply their mind with the safety of our children remaining an uncertainty?
NTEU continues to condemn any form of violence as the nation responds to these unacceptable attacks on our most vulnerable, but expects a comprehensive plan of action from government. We also caution wisdom as political opportunists will take advantage of our fears and should any political structure approach you NTEU urges you to say, “Kwanele! Enough talking. What are you going to do?”
NTEU is a politically non-aligned trade union organizing exclusively in the Higher Education sector and is aligned to FEDUSA, the largest politically non-aligned trade union federation in South Africa.