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Minister Cele, a delegation from SAPS, other high-level government representatives and the Soshanguve student community met on Friday to discuss student safety at these campuses. Their visit followed a request from Mnathete Moloto, a third year legal assistant student who spoke to the Minister about the safety challenges in Soshanguve during the funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Minister Cele announced a number of interventions to solve the issues, saying, “Our visit today is to respond to the call to address student safety threats, especially to female students.”
Prof Stanley Mukhola, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Teaching, Learning and Technology said: “The announcement of the Pilot project also follows an earlier decision by TUT to implement extensive safety improvement interventions at the Soshanguve campuses. The interventions will include the building of a new perimeter wall around the campuses, the introduction of a biometrics system and 24-hour camera surveillance on these campuses.”
Lt Genl KD Sithole, National Commissioner of Police, added that the pilot project is directly aligned with the SAPS’ Community Centred Approach, “It is important that we all work towards creating a crime free environment to guarantee social stability at the University. A dedicated Crime Prevention Desk, that will be manned at all hours of the day, will be established to address student safety issues immediately.”
The Minister also announced that one of the SAPS Special Forces units, Amaparent, will from now on patrol the streets around the Soshanguve North campus on Fridays and Saturdays to reduce crime in the area. He cautioned students to carry their student cards with them at all times to make sure they don’t run into trouble with the police.
The issue of taverns in close proximity of the campus was also discussed and Minister Cele assured the audience that the Department of Social Development, in collaboration with the SAPS, will engage with the owners and the Counsellor of Ward 34 to relocate the taverns to premises further away from campus.
In addition, the Minister ordered the demolition of the illegally occupied building adjacent to the Soshanguve North Campus, which caused serious security risks for students at the campus.
Another important intervention will be the establishment of a TUT SAPS Task Team to discuss the issues raised in the meeting in more detail and find resolutions. The first meeting took place on Wednesday, 16 May.