WHILE University of the Witwatersrand students were signing pledges for an anti-gender based violence awareness campaign, a male member of the Student Representative Council verbally abused a female Wits Vuvuzela reporter.
Tokelo Nhlapo, SRC vice president internal, swore and shouted at journalist Emelia Motsai before other students told him to back away.
Motsai covered the campaign on Friday for Wits Vuvuzela. She was approached by Nhlapo who showed her a copy of the Wits Vuvuzela opinion article she had written.
“He shouted ‘Fuck the hell out of here’ and he shouted I must never take their pictures again”, she said.
According to Nhlapo, the reason for the outburst was an opinion piece written by Motsai that argued the SRC was using the students to further their own cause. Nhlapo said he was “taken aback”.
SRC secretary Tasneem Essop confirmed the outburst but said she didn’t think it was a gender-based incident. “It was an incident based out of anger based on a certain article,” she said.
Nhlapo admitted that he should have addressed his issues with Motsai better. “What was meant to be an attack on her views became an attack on her as a person,” he said.
“I acted out of frustration, anger and impulse. My act was foolish and I will apologise.”
Nhlapo said his outburst was personal and not in his capacity as SRC vice president. “It was me. I was hurt. I personally felt anger about the article.”
SRC president Sibulele Mgudlwa said the SRC denounced any form of assault, verbal or otherwise, on anyone.