This is an edited response to our story from UCT’s Pat Lucas, manager: communications and media liaison.
It is simply not the case that UCT “needs bright talent like Mpongo, and seems willing to go so far as to forgive him practically anything just to be able to say it has this young black star to prove that it is not a racist institution”. Mr Mpongo was charged and found guilty on four serious charges and a sanction was imposed; he was not, and has not been, forgiven.
Mr Mpongo was charged under the UCT student code and found guilty of sexual harassment, sexual assault and interfering with the complainant in this case in such a way as to create an intimidating, hostile or demeaning environment.
The university’s Student Discipline Tribunal expelled Mr Mpongo, but suspended the expulsion on two conditions: that he completes 65 hours of community service and that he does not commit any further offence while a student at UCT.
A no-contact order was served on October 9 2015, three days after the complainant applied for it, and a disciplinary case followed.
UCT takes the question of gender violence seriously – but that is not to say that we have succeeded in eliminating the problem on campus.
The discrimination and harassment office has a specific mandate to help students and staff members to better understand and change attitudes towards gender discrimination, sexual harassment, other forms of harassment, domestic violence and rape; it provides a counselling and mediation service and supports victims through disciplinary processes. We also have a 24-hour whistle-blower hotline.