Parliament’s portfolio committee on police said on Friday it would invite Rhodes University student leaders to attend hearings on gender violence and the Domestic Violence Act at the end of the month.
This follows the suicide of Rhodes student Khensani Maseko, who took her own life last week after she was allegedly raped by her boyfriend in May.
“The death of Kensani Maseko is indeed a wake-up call to the nation to deal with institutional inertia and a lack of action by the relevant authorities,” portfolio chairperson Francois Beukman said.
“It is essential that the student leadership of Rhodes University and related student role-players should attend the hearings on gender violence and the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act on 28 and 29 August.”
The committee said the decision was taken in light of the need to hear all voices on the quality of action by law-enforcement agencies dealing with gender-based violence complaints.
It said the hearings would feature briefings from the civilian secretariat of police and the management of the South African Police Service (SAPS) on the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act. This would be followed by input from civil society.
There would also be briefings from the Saps family violence crime unit on crimes against women and children, and responses from the Congress of South African Trade Unions and other civil-society organisations.
The portfolio committee said it believed law enforcement agencies and government departments should step up efforts to combat gender violence, urging the national police commissioner and his management team to respond with urgency to all gender violence matters reported at Saps stations countrywide.