By Prelene Singh and Emelia Motsai
DR LAST Moyo and Tsepo wa Mamatu, who have been dismissed for sexual harassment, have spoken out about their sackings.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday by Wits Vice Chancellor Prof Adam Habib, two staff members were dismissed. Habib’s statement did not name the two staff members.
Habib apologised to all students who had been victimised by these lecturers and added that the university would not tolerate any future incidents of sexual harassment.
However, Wits Vuvuzela independently confirmed that Moyo and wa Mamatu are the two dismissed staff members.
When Wits Vuvuzela first contacted them, both Moyo and wa Mamatu said they were unaware that they had been dismissed. Wa Mamatu said he had already resigned and the university was attempting to claim “moral authority” by firing him.
“I resigned and if the university says that I have been fired, this is the university trying to claim moral authority,” wa Mamatu said.
Wa Mamatu said he resigned in May and was working until the end of July as part of his resignation. Wits drama department head Kennedy Chinyowa said he knew nothing about wa Mamatu’s resignation.
Wa Mamatu’s attorney David Mogaswa told Wits Vuvuzela that on Thursday morning he received an email from the university about the dismissal which went straight to junk mail. He still cannot read the contents of the email.
On Thursday morning, Moyo confirmed to Wits Vuvuzela that he had received news that he was dismissed and was disappointed by the outcome.
Moyo said that he didn’t expect any fairness from the hearings, and “institutions are like machines and I think the major thing at the moment for Wits is its reputation and all of its institutional energy is focused on that.”
“The idea behind legal justice is that punishment must correlate with offence, but I am not sure this applies in my case,” said Moyo.[pullquote align=”right”]“I received the harshest punishment that one won’t get even in hell I think.”[/pullquote]
“I received the harshest punishment that one won’t get even in hell I think.”
Moyo said that while he was unhappy with the outcome, he still loves Wits, the School of Language and Literature Studies and the Faculty of Humanities. He is happy that he was able to give his side of the story during the hearings.
“What matters to me is that I got a chance to tell the truth at the hearing. Once I did that, I found relief and could sleep peacefully knowing that between me and my creator everything is sorted,” Moyo said.
Moyo speculated about whether the students who testified against him would also have peace and said they had been “unjust”.
“These things have a way of coming back to you if you treat a fellow human being unjustly, even at old age,” Moyo said.
Moyo said that he had been expecting a promotion that had been derailed by the sexual harassment allegations made against him.
“My promotion to associate professor could have been through in April, but instead in March I was accused of harassing students. That’s life.” Moyo said he did not know most of the women who levelled accusations against him.
Wits Vuvuzela first reported the accusations against Moyo in March, resulting in the investigation. Moyo said most of the women in the article did not participate in the hearings.
He also said he had nothing against Wits Vuvuzela and its articles on sexual harassment on campus. “You did a great job in some stories, but certainly not in all cases.”
Wits Vuvuzela spoke to some of the women who made complaints against Moyo. Refilwe Kumalo, who testified against Moyo, let out a big sigh when she heard about the dismissal from Wits Vuvuzela.[pullquote align=”right”]“I am happy we won, I was able to stand up and protect my rights.”[/pullquote]
“I am happy we won, I was able to stand up and protect my rights.”
She said facing Moyo in the hearing was “disgusting and horrible”. Another student who also testified against Moyo said justice had been served: “Hopefully lecturers will learn how to conduct themselves.”
Moyo and wa Mamatu were two of four staff members under investigation for sexual harassment. The outcomes of those hearings are to be announced in the coming weeks.
Wits Vuvuzela. BREAKING: Fired sex pests named. July 31, 2013.
Wits Vuvuzela. ‘Sex pest’ hearings concluding. July 26, 2013.
Wits Vuvuzela. Kruger talks sexual harassment. July 12, 2013.
Wits Vuvuzela. EXCLUSIVE: Tsepo wa Mamatu speaks. May 31, 2013.