By Prelene Sigh and Emelia Motsai

ONE of the investigations into allegations of sexual harassment against Wits staff members has almost been completed.

“The first of the reports is expected in the week commencing August 5 2013,” Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel  said.

Three Wits staff members   were put on special leave pending an investigation into accusations of sexual harassment. Their accusers have been waiting for the outcome of these investigations.

A lecturer accused of sexual harassment, Dr Last Moyo, has pleaded not guilty to the accusations brought against him.

Refilwe Kumalo, 3rd year BA, testified against Moyo, a member of the media studies department, at a June 1 hearing where the lecturer said he was innocent of the accusations made against him. Kumalo said the hearing was “intense and it’s a big deal”.

[pullquote align=”right”]“The first of the reports is expected in the week commencing August 5 2013,”[/pullquote] Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel  said.

Allegations against Moyo were first raised in an article published by Wits Vuvuzela in March. Several students, including Kumalo, came forward and said Moyo had behaved inappropriately towards them.

In addition to Moyo, Prof Rupert Taylor of the politics department and senior drama lecturer Tsepo wa Mamatu have been placed on special leave pending investigations.

Dr Lord Mawuko-Yevugah of the international relations department has also been placed on special leave pending an investigation. However, the nature of the complaint against him is not known.

Patel said all the cases were still being heard but would be wrapped up soon.  She said the process was confidential and no information could be released at this time. The university would release a statement after the reports on the allegations were made, she said.

Drama department head Kennedy Chinyowa said he was interviewed during wa Mamatu’s hearing but had not received any further information on the investigation.

Chinyowa said, as far as he knew, all  the interviews of witnesses related to wa Mamatu’s hearing were scheduled to be done by June 28.

[pullquote]“The hearings are actually under way; until now there has just been a promise but now they are actually under way,” [/pullquote]

In an interview with Wits Vuvuzela, wa Mamatu said he was not coming back to Wits. However, Chinyowa said he was not aware that wa Mamatu had resigned.

“I’m not aware of this. And I am the [head of department], and officially we do not have any information about him resigning,” Chinyowa said.

Prof Daryl Glaser, head of the politics department, said he was “hopeful” because some action on the accusations had been taken after a long delay. The accusations against Taylor were first made in Wits Vuvuzela last year.

“The hearings are actually under way; until now there has just been a promise but now they are actually under way,” Glaser said.

“I know some people have been called to give evidence. I can’t say anything about what I’ve heard has happened in the hearing itself.”

Glasser said a result in Taylor’s hearing had been delayed because of postponements.

“For legal reasons, I think the defence has called for postponements, so the whole thing has been stretched out as a result,” he said.

Meanwhile, the campus-wide inquiry by law firm Norton Rose Fulbright into sexual harassment policy at Wits is also under way and will be completed by the end of August.

Joe Mothibi, employment and labour lawyer director at Norton Rose Fulbright, said the inquiry is examining “how widespread sexual harassment is on campus across all borders” between lecturers and students.

Mothibi urged students to come forward and approach him about any experiences they have had or if they know of any sexual harassment cases as “the university is a microcosm of the country and everyone is stakeholders in this problem”.

All parties coming forward will be kept “strictly anonymous”, Mothibi said.

Related articles

Wits Vuvuzela. Kruger talks sexual harassment. July 12, 2013

Wits Vuvuzela. EXCLUSIVE: Tsepo wa Mamatu speaks. May 31, 2013

Wits Vuvuzela. Sexual lunch: No strings attached. May 31, 2013