Management at the university were aware of the allegations of sexual misconduct as these had already been subject to an internal investigation
THE KIMBERLEY police are investigating a case of sexual assault after a lecturer at Sol Plaatje University (SPU) accused a senior academic of touching his genitals.
While neither the university nor the police were willing to go into the specifics of the incident, it is alleged by the married, male complainant that the academic, who is the head of one of the schools at the university, touched him inappropriately during a visit to his office on August 27.
This resulted in criminal charges being opened after the complainant reported the matter to the police last Tuesday (October 2).
While police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Dimakatso Mooi, confirmed that a criminal investigation was under way, she was unable to go into any specifics regarding the nature of the allegations, nor the incident that lead to the charges.
“A case of sexual assault was opened,” said Mooi in response to a media enquiry. “Unfortunately, at this stage no further information can be divulged as the matter is still under investigation.”
SPU Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Yunus Ballim, said that management at the university were aware of the allegations of sexual misconduct as these had already been subject to an internal investigation.
“The university takes allegations like these very seriously and we responded swiftly,” Ballim explained yesterday. “However, the issues are not as clear as they may appear at first glance.”
He added that due to the sensitivity of the matter and the potential to unfairly prejudice those involved, the range and extent of information that the university could release, at this stage, was limited.
“We have investigated the matter and satisfied ourselves that the complainant has been receiving the necessary and appropriate counselling,” Ballim said. “We have also met with the counsellor to discuss our responses and any necessary additional support.
“We are now at a stage where the two parties have agreed to a process for further assessment of the allegations.
“However, the first two meetings of this process have had to be postponed because the complainant is off ill and under medical care.
“We have put in place alternative teaching arrangements to ensure that students are not negatively affected by this development.”