Zizipho Pae in a picture posted on her Facebook page
The University of Cape Town’s LGBTI campus group has called for homophobic SRC Vice-President Zizipho Pae to be removed from her position.
On Wednesday, RainbowUCT issued a statement reacting to the outrage generated by Pae’s Facebook comments on the weekend in which she called homosexuality “a sin” in response to the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the USA.
Pae later affirmed her homophobic views to the Cape Times and refused to retract the statement.
She told the newspaper: “I am a Christian and that informs my whole philosophy on life. I do believe homosexuals that they are born that way but it doesn’t mean it is okay.”
RainbowUCT said that as the acting president of the SRC Pae is required to serve all students and thus “her words speak for more than ‘just personal opinion’”.
“As RainbowUCT and as LGBTIAQ+ students we do not feel supported or represented by Mx Pae’s hurtful and offensive words. It is clear that she believes that the varying identities that make up our LGBTIAQ+ community are ‘not okay’ or that we are born inherently inferior,” explained the group.
“Her statement and actions have not only devalued our existence as people but also our pain in her continued refusal to apologise or explain herself to hurt students. She cannot lead if she does not uphold the dignity of marginalised communities at UCT.”
Zizipho Pae’s offensive post
Rainbow UCT also noted that in an earlier statement the SRC revealed that it had received previous complaints of homophobia against Pae. It asked for these to be made public.
The organisation also urged the SRC, UCT and the vice-president Internal, Khanyisa Pinini, to remove Pae from her position.
“We feel that Mx Pae no longer represents us as LGBTIAQ+ students. We cannot and will not tolerate this kind of prejudice from elected student leadership. She must be held accountable,” insisted the organisation.
RainbowUCT further called on the university and the SRC to immediately and intensively respond to homophobic and transphobic issues faced by LGBTIAQ+ students at UCT.
“In light of the Rhodes Must Fall Movement transformation cannot be seen in isolation of other portfolios and the ethos of transformation should be the driving mandate in every area of the university structure,” argued the organisation.
Pae has been suspended by the SRC pending an investigation into her homophobia. She has not responded to a request from Mambaonline for comment.