Statement issued by Thandi Nontenja – UDEMWO Secretary General
The United Democratic Movement Women’s Organisation (UDEMWO) welcomes the arrest of a man suspected of having raped a female student, stabbing another and robbing them at the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) in the Eastern Cape.
It is clear that campus security was compromised with the students being accosted in a lab at the NMU Second Avenue Campus. What is of great concern is that this horrendous incident happened hot on the heels of a hijacking, armed robbery, rape and murder of two NMU students in August 2017.
Earlier this year, fellow students killed a Walter Sisulu University (WSU) final-year medical student. In other incidents, also at WSU, a student stabbed his roommate with a bread-knife (August), while a female student was gang-raped whilst a fellow student stripped of his clothes and robbed of his bank card on the premises (in September). Also in early 2017, the University of Zululand abandoned an internal investigation into two senior staff members implicated in the alleged rapes of a student, in three separate incidents. And these are just a few examples of campus crime in 2017 alone.
Our institutions of learning have become a playground for rapists, murderers and criminals.
There must be a better way of tightening security at our universities and other institutions of learning. It is the responsibility of university managements to ensure that our students are safe in their own spaces; in class, in-between classes and at residences.
The Department of Higher Education, together with those in authority positions, must come clean and let parents and students know how they plan to address the scourge of rape and murder on our campuses.