The Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, visited Tshwane University of Technology at the Soshanguve South Campus to listen to student’s grievances regarding their safety on campus.
Students invited the minister to help them put proper security measures in place and expressed their frustrations about student killings on campus. Students also complained about girls being mugged and assaulted on and off campus, poor security services on residences, and the unresponsive Soshanguve SAPS service.
The MEC for Community Safety, Ms Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane was also present at the minister’s dialogue with students and said that within the department of Community Safety they have a U-Desk that deals with crime against young people as well as crime committed by young people.
The MEC said the role of the U-Desk is to develop a program to address issues raised by students. “The team is mandated to fight the use of drugs in the community, we know that many campuses are experiencing the same problem of drug abuse,‘’ she said.
Ms Nkosi-Malobane also emphasised that the U-Desk deals with problems concerning young women more especially rape and drugs issues. “Just because a male student takes out a female student out for drinks and paid, it does not mean the male student need to force himself on her,” she said.
The MEC proposed that community alarms and alarms for personal use especially for students should be used. The alarms have a button that can be pressed in case of being in danger to alert the community to rescue them.
She said the first few thousand of these personal use alarms will be made available to young females on campuses and said a thousand pepper sprays will would be distributed to female students.
“As the department for Community Safety, our contribution and commitment to this initiative is through the student leadership of this campus. We urge the student leadership to be active in ensuring that student safety becomes a priority on this campus,” the MEC said.
Students raised concerns that the Soshanguve SAPS turn away students or do not do follow-ups on murder cases of students. Students believe that there is corruption amongst the Soshanguve police hence their case have not been dealt with accordingly. Students said this is what makes them easy targets.
The Minister of Police suggested that one officer should be given a special department to asses student’s cases. He assured students that he will monitor the new department himself to see if there is progress.
“The Commissioner of the South African Police, Judicial Commissioner, myself and the SRC of this institution will sit down and asses the struggle of the Soshanguve Police station, put the allegations on them, and try to change the attitude towards this campus’, said the minister.
The Minister asked the students to provide him with the list of all the cases they said were not attended to and appointed Lieutenant General Masemola to personally look at the cases.
The minister also highlighted that taverns that are closer to campus also contribute to bad behaviour and that male students go out to drink then come back to campus to harass female students.
“I will send out a team to patrol on those premises Friday and Saturday nights. If we find that they don’t’ have licenses and sell alcohol to under 18s, we will shut them down”, said the minister.
Seeing that students that live off campus also become targets, the minister suggested that the institution should register every rental property that accommodates students off campus because some of the property owners are mostly unknown.
Most students are assaulted because of no supervision on the premises and the property owners are unreachable because they are unknown.
“Some of the students live there and someone should take responsibility if something happens to them”, said the minister.
The Minister advised female students to be more cautious and reprimanded male students to stop mistreating female students and do things that are wrong and would not want to happen to their own sisters.
“The constitution says we should protect you and that is exactly what we are going to do,” said the Minister.