News / South Africa

Virginia Keppler
2 minute read
3 May 2018
6:28 am

TUT Soshanguve female students decry unsafe campus

Virginia Keppler

They say they are being sexually harassed, robbed, mugged and their rooms broken into, but university management isn't addressing the issues.

Picture for illustrative purposes only. Mpumalanga News

A first-year computer engineering student at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) was allegedly stabbed in the tongue with a knife by her would-be rapist in an attempt to silence her screams for help.

Promise Masoka, 21, said her attacker also slapped her face as he tried to pin her down to rape her.

The incident happened on Tuesday night at the TUT Soshanguve south campus. Her screams alerted a security guard who came to her rescue, dragged the attacker off her and locked him up in a holding room.

Masoka was then rushed to the George Mukhari Hospital in Ga-Rankuwa, north of Pretoria, where she was treated and released yesterday afternoon. Her injuries were not too severe, but she still struggles to speak.

TUT student representative council (SRC) president Katlego Makyobola said the student was working in the study areas of the university, “which is one of the most unsafe places on campus”. He said at some point she left for the toilet.

“Unbeknown to her, the suspect followed her to the toilet and as she entered, he grabbed her and overpowered her.

“Fortunately, one of the security officials on the campus heard her screams and came to her aid.

“Police arrived at the scene and took him away, but other students started fighting with the police, demanding that the suspect be released to them,” Makyobola said.

He said they have since determined that the suspect was not even a student at TUT.

“The campus protection services said the last time he registered as a student was in 2016,” said Makyobola.

South African Students’ Congress and ANC Women’s League young women’s desk representative Zandi Tshabalala said female students were being sexually harassed, robbed, mugged and their rooms broken into, but the university management was not addressing these safety issues.

“I was also a victim of sexual harassment last year but up to now, I have not heard anything from the university and the student who harassed me was not expelled.

“Women are not safe, there is no security in the classrooms where we study. There are no lights other than in the classrooms and there is no support from the Soshanguve community because they have no relationship with the university,” said Tshabalala.

Makyobola said they would be occupying the library from tonight until the university management agreed to keep it open 24 hours a day.

Students also demand that Gencor hall be open for students to study in, that there be security personnel all over the campus and that students who are found guilty of sexual harassment and criminal activities be suspended.

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