UCT student transformation leader quits amid homophobia row
The University of Cape Town’s student transformation leader Thato Pule has announced her resignation on Facebook‚ in the wake of the Student Representative Council’s vice president condemning homosexuality. Pule changed her status to “Former Chair: Transformation and Social Responsiveness at UCT SRC”.Yesterday‚ she also posted a photo stating: “Dear History‚ this revolution has women‚ gays‚ queers and trans. Remember that. #RhodesMustFall”.Shortly after announcements that the Supreme Court in the USA had legalised gay marriage in all states‚ SRC deputy president Zizipho Pae wrote on Facebook‚ “We are institutionalizing and normalizing sin. May God have mercy on us”.Ramabina Mahapa‚ SRC president‚ said the council has distanced itself from her comments and is contemplating an investigation. Pae‚ however‚ told The Times that she stands by her views. “I am definitely not retracting my comment. I am a Christian and that informs my whole philosophy on life.”Pule‚ in an open letter to UCT students in March‚ declared herself a black transgender woman.“These words describe my political identity and reality. All three words are a description of how I need to be emancipated from structural oppression‚” she wrote.Transformation‚ she said‚ should not only be about race and should be broadened to include “any form of oppression that needs to be eradicated to build a true African society that places humanity above all else”.“My name is Thato Pule and I am a black‚ yes‚ but I am more than the colour of my skin‚ I am transgender woman. This is the intersectionality that is my reality – I am oppressed because I am black‚ but what is often forgotten is that I am oppressed because I am transgender and a woman. These issues can no longer afford to be silenced.”Pae is the third student leader in hot water this year‚ and the second at UCT.The faeces-throwing activist who orchestrated the #RhodesMustFall campaign at UCT‚ Chumani Maxwele‚ was suspended after being accused of shouting at a lecturer: “We must not listen to whites. We do not need their apologies. They have to be removed from UCT and have to be killed“. He has denied the allegations.Former Wits Students’ Representative Council president and Hitler admirer Mcebo Dlamini‚ meanwhile‚ is now facing a charge of crimen injuria as well as a complaint lodged with the SA Human Rights Commission for comments viewed as hate speech by the SA Jewish Board of Deputies.Dlamini was sacked as Wits SRC president in May over an unrelated case that resulted in a finding of misconduct against him by a disciplinary panel. Wits did not release the details but according to Dlamini‚ there was a physical altercation — “pushing and shoving” - between him and a complainant. He said the two forgave each other and the other student agreed to drop charges. He claimed the university initially agreed to allow this but later reversed its decision.