The final year Stellenbosch medical student accused of sexually assaulting a fellow student has been granted R500 bail.

The 26-year-old accused was arrested on Thursday, July 9 and appeared in the Belville Magistrates Court on Friday, July 10 on charges of sexual and physical assault. The court set bail of R500 for the accused, and he is not allowed to contact or visit the complainant. The case has been postponed until September 14.

The alleged incident took place at Ubuntu House, a residence on Tygerberg campus, in the early hours of Saturday, July 4. He was suspended on July 5 by the Rector, Prof Wim de Villiers, pending a disciplinary investigation.

Dr Choice Makhetha, Senior Director of Student Affairs at the University condemned the actions of the student.

“We cannot normalise violence against women by men in our communities,” she wrote in a statement. “”I call on the men in our communities – our fathers, brothers, sons and friends – to take responsibility for the current situation. This is not a fight that women should fight alone.”

The incident sparked outrage among the Stellenbosch University community. Stellenbosch-based advocacy group Anti-GBV Movement SU has called out SAPS and the university for not doing enough to protect its students. They have also said they are disgusted by the low bail amount.

A petition, which as of the time of publication of this article has 36 344 signatures, was started to ensure the alleged perpetrator does not set foot on Tygerberg Medical Campus again.

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