Rhodes University notes the judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal handed down today in the case of Ms Yolanda Dyantyi.
The University has consistently held that the rule of law is the cornerstone of our democracy. Where there is no respect for the law, accountability is compromised alongside the protection of human rights, human dignity and justice for all.
The role of the courts in upholding the rule of law is the only protection there is for society not to descend into chaos, anarchy and the reign of the law of the jungle.
The University further notes that the Court has remitted the matter back to the University for reconsideration, indicating that, should the University wish to start the disciplinary process anew, it must take place before another proctor.
The matter has dragged on for too long. This has never been our wish. We will consider the guidance provided by the Court very carefully and determine a way forward accordingly.
The University views any offence that involves sexual and/or gender-based violence in a very serious light and deals with such offences with urgency. The University also recognises and supports the right to peaceful protest. We will, however not condone vigilantism and violent crimes in furtherance of such protest.
The necessary activism against gender-based violence cannot be used as a cover to operate outside of the Constitution and violate other citizens’ rights.
The facts in the case had earlier warranted the Grahamstown High Court granting an interdict against Ms Dyantyi in 2017. The interdict dealt with the same charges that Ms Dyantyi faced in the independent hearing, namely: kidnapping, assault, insubordination and defamation. Ms Dyantyi appealed and lost against the interdict at the Grahamstown High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and in a unanimous ruling by the Constitutional Court.