Khensani Maseko

Credit: Twitter/ Oppidan Press

Political party wants death penalty for rapists after Khensani Maseko protests

The death of Rhodes University student Khensani Maseko has gathered nationwide attention over the course of the week. One political party is now demanding action of the highest order.

Khensani Maseko

Credit: Twitter/ Oppidan Press

Rape and rape culture have long been a major issue at Rhodes University and South African universities in general. While protests rocked campuses in 2016, it is clear that the situation has not improved. Women risk their lives and bodies daily just by going about their normal life.

Khensani Maseko: What action will follow?

On Tuesday, the National Freedom Party, NFP, called for the death penalty for those convicted of rape and murder.

With Rhodes University suspending its academic programme for both Monday and Tuesday after a student took her own life. Khensani Maseko posted her last picture on Instagram marking the day she would die. The caption read “no one deserves to be raped”.

Read: Rhodes University’s academic program halted, investigation into alleged rapist begins

The NFP has been shaken by Maseko’s death.

“The NFP challenges the ANC-led government to open a debate in Parliament on bringing back death penalty.”

“NFP is deeply concerned and against the ongoing rape culture in South Africa. Khensani Maseko’s death has proved again that many more women are dying in silence. As this month is supposedly Women’s Month, losing a young intellectual like her is a huge loss.”

The party believes that the ANC has failed the women of South Africa.

Rhodes University confirmed on Monday that before her death, Maseko and her family had informed the university that she was raped in May by a fellow student.

In 2016, Rhodes University was shut down briefly with ongoing #RuReferenceList protests. The movement looked to expose alleged rapists on campus and pressure university management into taking steps against rape culture.

As a result of the protests, a Task Team was created in December 2016 to provide recommendations to the university on how to better handle and combat rape instances involving students.

96 recommendations were made,  but on Monday panel members remained unsure as to whether the university ever implemented them.

The accused rapist has been issued with a notice to suspend from the university.