Student: ‘we are not safe’

2019-11-27 15:13
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“We're not safe anywhere,” said a UKZN student who was held up at gunpoint this week as students who live in off-campus residences in Scottsville continue to be besieged by criminals.

The female student living in a commune in Oribi Road was held up in the early hours of Monday and robbed of a laptop and two cellphones.

About four students, studying at UKZN, live in the commune that was targeted.

The other students were not there at the time as they have already gone home for the holidays.

“It was one man, probably in his 20s, who held the student up,” said Zolile Zikhali, a student who also lives at the commune.

Zikhali said she moved into the commune in September.

“The crime issue is something that we have been paying attention to. We moved here from our last accommodation because of crime. The previous facility was robbed three times in August and we no longer felt safe.

“On that night, I think the front door was left unlocked because some people were not asleep.”

The student said she suspects that the man entered the property through a damaged concrete wall.

The female student who was held up, who refused to be named for security reasons, said the man knocked on her door and pointed a gun at her.

“I thought it was one of my housemates. I was with a friend in the room and by the time I opened the door, it was already too late to scream, the barrel of the gun was in my face. He covered my friend’s face with a blanket and instructed me not to look him in the eye.”

She said the man searched the room and took a laptop and two cellphones.

“He asked me if anyone else was in the house and I said no. He then went out the front door and it was then that I screamed for help and the other students came out.”

The students, together with the security guards, chased the man but he managed to jump over the concrete wall into another property on Jesmond Road.

“This man knew very well that the property houses students. We suspect that he was roaming around the area looking for a house to target.

“The curtains in my room are see-through. We were watching a movie on the laptop and he probably noticed that activity.”

The students said they felt unsafe in the commune.

“We are not safe anywhere. Recently, we had an incident where two other students were walking to the commune at night when they were approached by two men, one with a gun. The perpetrators made off with a range of items in two backpacks,” said the student who was held up.

Police said there had been numerous reports of individual students being attacked and mugged while walking to or from campuses.

Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said a case of robbery had been opened at Alexandra Road police station. No arrests have been made as yet, he said.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  crime
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