President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Friday that he would be meeting the vice-chancellors of the country's universities to discuss the scourge of gender-based violence and student safety.
This was in response to a request by the 26 vice-chancellors in the wake of the murders of two first-year UCT students.
Professor Ahmed Bawa, chief executive officer of Universities South Africa tells Africa Melane a preparatory meeting with Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande will take place in the coming week.
Of primary concern, he says, is that the crisis of gender-based violence is not something these institutions can manage themselves.
Regarding the safety of students, he also points out that their lives are not restricted to their university, with many living off campus.
The whole social eco-system needs to be addressed. What we would really like to put to the president is that there's a need for all the different elements in that national system to work in concert to address this issue.— Prof. Ahmed Bawa, CEO - Universities South Africa
It's one thing for the universities to try and improve the security on their campuses, but of course our students exist not just on the campuses, they exist in society so we are very anxious to try and secure a national response, a multi-departmental response to this.— Prof. Ahmed Bawa, CEO - Universities South Africa
Professor Bawa would also like to see universities utilised more effectively as agents of change.
Universities are social institutions with a lot of agency. We would like to see the use of the universities in giving effect to culture change in a much more vigorous way.— Prof. Ahmed Bawa, CEO - Universities South Africa
For more on what universities will be putting on the table in the meetings with the minister and the president, listen here:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : [LISTEN] GBV: 'Universities should be used more vigorously as agents of change'