UWC student body apologises for ‘they repulse me’ homophobic remark

The University of the Western Cape. Picture Ian Landsberg

The University of the Western Cape. Picture Ian Landsberg

Published Mar 26, 2024


Cape Town - The University of the Western Cape (UWC) Student Representative Council (SRC) has apologised to the LGBTQIA+ student community following a recent homophobic comment made by its gender and security officer.

In a statement on Monday, the SRC said the remark, loosely translated in English to “they repulse me” was made on Facebook, in reference to another translated post which read, “Girls who date other girls”.

SRC acting president Siyabonga Sgudla said the SRC became aware of the comment on Sunday night. A statement on the incident was released early on Monday morning.

“It is crucially important for the UWC student community to take note that the SRC is firmly against any form of unfair discrimination, including homophobia. It is with no doubt that the SRC is extremely disappointed by the conduct of its gender and security officer,” the statement read.

The officer, who has not been named, has been directed to retract the comment and to release a public apology.

When asked if the member has agreed to accede to these directives, Sgudla said: “All members of the SRC are required to abide by SRC directives and decisions made in accordance with the SRC constitution.”

The SRC said it would activate its internal processes to deal with such conduct.

According to the UWC SRC constitution, some of the functions of the gender and security officer were to promote gender sensitivity within the student body; safety and security on campus; represent the SRC in all matters relating to gender, safety and security; monitor legal prosecution against perpetrators of violence and abuse against students and facilitate support to victims and survivors of violence and abuse against students.

“The SRC sincerely apologises to the LGBTQIA+ student community for the conduct of one (of) its own, and would like to reassure them that the SRC will never walk down the distasteful and inhumane road of homophobia, as that is not in our character and is something which all members of the SRC took an oath to stand against, and protect the rights and dignity of all students,” the statement noted.

UWC marketing and media manager Gasant Abarder said the university has noted the SRC’s apology, course of self-correction and said the institution was confident that the student leadership would deal with the matter through its internal processes.

“The University of the Western Cape does not tolerate any form of discrimination. It is a home for all students of diverse backgrounds and orientations,” Abarder said.