Today's Big Stories

Rhodes VC demands release of arrested students to avoid escalating tensions

Rhodes University Vice Chancellor Sizwe Mabizela has asked for police to release the students arrested during this morning's demonstrations.

At least seven students have been arrested after a confrontation with police on Wednesday.

Others have blockaded the main road leading onto campus, and are demanding that the institution take action against 11 male students who allegedly raped other students on campus.

The accused rapists were named in a document published on social media, dubbed the #RUReferenceList.

Mabizela says that his first obligation is to protect university students and ensure their safety.

I was really pleading with the police that they release them. With students being arrested, it may just escalate the whole situation at the university, which we don't want at this stage.

Dr Sizwe Mabizela, Rhodes University Vice Chancellor

Mabizela says the concerns surrounding sexual violence and rape culture are valid, and said the university was committed to raising awareness about gender-based violence and sexual assault.

He said several task teams have been established to improve the support structures available for rape survivors, in addition to the review of existing policy and protocols for charging offenders.

Listen to the full conversation from The Midday Report with Stephen Grootes:

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