Students Express Concern Over Safety
With the commencement of the new academic year, students are preparing themselves to move in to the various Sol Plaatje residences. Sol Plaatje makes provision for 60% of its students in “on campus” residences. These are Moroka Hall of Residence, located on the central campus, Mhudi Hall, located off Du Toitspan Road and Ra-Thaga Hall, located off Edward Street. Despite claiming that these are on campus accommodation, only one of the residences are in fact on campus, and many students are feeling at risk walking to and from central campus where most of the academic procedures take place.
A second-year student, who has been mugged twice on his way back to Ra-Thaga Hall of Residence, expresses his concern, “We have to walk alone at our own risk and I’ve been robbed twice. With regards to our safety they are not doing anything to protect us. We often had insufficient access to the internet, so we had to walk to the central campus at night to submit our assignments. Personally, coming from the cricket practice, I have to walk alone at night because the other students stay at a different residence and SPU does not provide alternative transportation.
“Deputy Secretary of the Students’ Representative Council, Oratile Mokwa, comments that the SRC is doing their best to ensure students’ safety, “Since the examination period, we have introduced a system whereby security guards escort students who wish to study at the library, back to their residence. It is our mission to see it happening on a daily basis.”
Albeit the reassurance from the SRC, some students feel that enough is still not being done, especially regarding the safety of women walking to and from central campus. According to a female second-year student, she felt unsafe and scared every day, “although we walk in groups, our classes end at different times and often we cannot walk altogether. We were often followed and robbed of our cell phones and other valuables. Sol Plaatje has to create a safe environment for us perhaps by introducing shuttles because we really feel at risk”.
Another concern with the system advocated by the SRC, is that it only makes provision for students who wish to study at the library, disregarding other elements of students’ daily lives, such as sports and socio-cultural activities.