Campus attacks: Cele meets with VCs, private security regulator to chart safety plans

Police Minister Bheki Cele. (Netwerk24)
Police Minister Bheki Cele. (Netwerk24)

The police ministry met with university vice-chancellors and the private security regulator in Johannesburg this week to discuss plans to deal with campus-related safety concerns.

Police Minister Bheki Cele, the 26 university vice-chancellors and the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSiRA) have, as a way forward, established a task team to improve campus safety.

The engagement was prompted by a spate of violence and murders on and off university campuses over the last couple of months.

Cele addressed the meeting on Wednesday, stressing the need for students to "feel safe on and off campus".

'Police states'

"The violence on and off campus extends to more than gender-based violence (GBV). We are now seeing that there are attacks and violence against the overall student community," said Cele.

Cele urged students to also come on board to find solutions. 

"Students shouldn’t feel that we as the police are creating police states around them. We want a dialogue with them and for them to be part of the fight against crime," he said.

READ: 19-year-old arrested for allegedly killing fellow student at NMU

The parties agreed to establish a working committee that would look at short and long-term security solutions on and off campuses.

The committee will comprise representatives from the police ministry and secretariat, PSiRA, as well as members of Universities South Africa.

The team will be tasked with looking at some of the proposals.

TVET colleges

These include the establishment of victim-friendly facilities that will speedily assist students who have fallen victim to crime, especially those who have been affected by gender-based violence.

It is hoped these facilities will provide the necessary care and services to students, with the assistance of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit of the SAPS.

The committee is expected to engage further with the Departments of Higher Education and Training and Social Development to extend student safety to TVET colleges and schools.

The vice-chancellors indicated a strong willingness to collaborate with Cele and his team and pledged to bring the strong research capacity of universities to bear on the issue of social violence.

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