Students are still feeling unsafe off campus. Although most feel comfortable while on campus as security is visible, their safety off campus is not always guaranteed. Students have embarked on various marches recently to ensure that the university, police and the municipality take heed that they are often easy targets for criminals.
The university has recently announced an agenda with a number of on- and off-campus security measures, which they say are constantly being developed and supplemented as the need arises. They have also urged students to take cognisance and make use of these services and facilities that seek to address safety and security issues.
The services include 24/7 Operational Centres; Closed Circuit TV (CCTV) Cameras; Red Pole Alarms (panic buttons); Security patrols; Security at residences; Dedicated Investigating Officers; Accreditation of off-campus residences; Student Crime Stop WhatsApp group; Dedicated security and SAPS vehicles deployed at identified hotspots; Distribution of whistles and Community Police Forum (CPF) membership. However, even with all these measures, students still don’t feel safe off campus.
Theatre arts student, Kabelo Moletsane (21), who resides on campus, says he is comfortable on campus, but not off campus.“I honestly feel safe here on campus. The only problem that I have, is going off campus because there are a lot of incidents that have taken place, it’s more about people off-campus being aware that we have a lot of stationery and laptops that we carry, which make us targets,” he said.
Siyabulela Mayeye (21), who stays off campus, says she does not feel safe at all off campus. “Off campus, I don’t feel safe, because we are surrounded by student houses and robbers target student houses as they know that we have laptops, cell phones and TVs, so I don’t feel safe at all off campus.”
Thembisile Mthembu (21), who stays on campus, says that the moment one goes off campus you are immediately aware of the possible danger. “The minute I go off campus, I do not feel safe, I don’t want to lie. You see things like people walking slowly behind you, and one of my friends was even chased.”
Even with security patrols operating in areas such as Brandwag, Willows and Universitas, where a large number of students live, students still feel unsafe in these areas. – Seithati Semenokane