S afety concerns at UKZN

2017-05-24 06:02

FEMALE students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg campus have threatened to abandon their mid-year examinations if the university does not provide additional security on campus.

The students held a peaceful protest outside the university’s risk management services (RMS) office on Monday demanding more security to ensure their safety.

Speaking on behalf of the students, Lihle Mkhize said there have been countless reports of students being mugged on campus and having their valuables taken.

“Students are getting robbed on campus every day because we do not have visible security patrolling to make sure we are safe.

“This is especially alarming because the country is facing a serious epidemic where young girls are being abducted and killed. Before this gets serious, the university must tighten security because students are not safe.”

Mkhize said they want 24- hour escort services for students in res and in communes that are a walkable distance from the university.

“We also want RMS staff at each gate and they must be armed. How are they going to protect us if they themselves are not safe?

It is worrying that the university is not quick to respond to issues pertaining to our safety yet during fees must fall protests the university was infested with police, we even had a satellite police station on campus. We would get checked at every gate yet they are dragging their feet in responding to this issue.”

Mkhize said with examinations starting on Wednesday
students will be studying at libraries until late. “There is a serious issue of paranoia among female students, RMS is under staffed yet they came up with strategies during fees must fall to ensure they had enough security on campus and now they want to tell us about hurdles.”

She said students were circulating a list on campus of suspicious vehicles around Scottsville. The list has also disseminated on social media.

“I have a friend who was stabbed recently after occupants in a white Corolla tried to mug him. We have specific cars that we know operate in the area, and there are many students who have been victims. These incidents are happening and no one is taking notice.”

SRC member Siyethemba Magwaza said he has also been a victim of the muggings in the Scottsville area.

“The issue of security on and off campus is very concerning. Currently on campus none of the gates are working, anyone can come in as they please.

“I was also mugged by the occupants of the white Corolla with three occupants inside, but, fortunately, I managed to fight them off.

“We want students to have a security guard chaperone when walking to their residence so that they don’t fall victim to these criminals.” University spokesperson Sejal Desai said they have commissioned the services of an external crime combating unit.

“The university has asked Mi7, to provide additional security on the public roads outside the campus during the day and at night. There is also a strong security presence maintained at all campus gates. Students are urged to be vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times. The safety of our students and staff is a priority and security measures have been bolstered on all campuses.”

She encouraged students to contact the university RMS office if they have concerns about safety and security.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said police have not been alerted about the suspicious vehicles operating around Scottsville.

“The police are not aware of the said incidents.

We advise students to report any sinister behaviour either to campus security or the police so further steps can be taken to curb the illegal activities.”

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