Zizipho Pae (Facebook)
Although homophobic student leader Zizipho Pae’s expulsion from the UCT Student Representative Council (SRC) was reversed by the university, she is no longer Vice President External.
On 21 July, the university’s SRC voted to remove Pae from the SRC after she posted on Facebook that legalising same-sex marriage was “institutionalising and normalising sin!” She added, “May God have mercy on us…”
While she insisted she had the right to express herself freely, the SRC decided that she had violated its constitution and was not fit to lead students, some of whom are members of the LGBT community.
On August 3rd, however, Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price ruled that the SRC’s decision was invalid “because of flaws in the procedures followed by the SRC.” The university said that his decision did not relate to the “substance or merits of Ms Pae’s conduct.”
Price, however, said in an earlier statement that he believed that Pae’s “post was an expression of her sincerely held religious belief, rather than an intervention to insult or hurt those with whom she disagrees.”
Mambaonline has learned that while she was indeed reinstated to the SRC on Price’s orders, Pae was demoted to the position of Health, Safety & Environment Chair by student leaders.
SRC President, Ramabina Mahapa, said the change in her portfolio was due to a motion of no confidence passed by an overwhelming majority of Student Parliament members and the SRC’s “lack of confidence in Ms Pae being able to serve the structure and students adequately as the Vice President External.”
The reversal of her expulsion was welcomed by conservative Christian anti-gay lobby groups. Freedom of Religion South Africa (FORSA) said the Vice-Chancellor’s move to reinstate Pae meant that, “religious freedom was the winner.”
Pae previously informed Mambaonline that FORSA is her “official spokesperson on this matter” and that she would not answer any questions to us directly.
Pae also commented to LifeSiteNews: “My biggest regret is that I have lost friends within the LGBT community… Homophobia is the hatred or the fear of someone because of their homosexuality.” She insisted that this does not describe here and that, “We need to draw a line between homophobia and being a Christian.”
The university’s LGBT student group Rainbow UCT told Mambaonline that it is disappointed that Pae was reinstated by Price and that “it was not right for him to interfere with the decision of the SRC.”
It nevertheless accepted that all possible avenues have been explored and it will now focus on the election of next year’s SRC, which is currently under way, hoping that students will “vote for candidates who genuinely have the LGBTIAQ+ students in mind.”
Mahapa confirmed to Mambaonline that Pae is not standing in the election and said that the SRC considers the Pae matter “closed.”