Three held for assaulting woman near Mostert’s Mill

YONELA SINQU

Three suspects have been taken in for questioning following the attempted rape of a woman near the University of Cape Town campus on Monday afternoon.

The attack comes shortly after two female students of the university were raped within a month of each other.

On Monday afternoon, January 25, a woman, who is not a student or staff member of UCT, was assisted by members of SAPS and campus security after being found injured on Rhodes Avenue.

Gerda Kruger, UCT executive director of communication and marketing, said to their understanding the assailant assaulted the woman and attempted to rape her near Mostert’s Mill, resulting in serious injury.

Last month, on Friday December 11, a female student reported that she was attacked and raped by an unidentified man when she walked from Rhodes Memorial towards UCT.

A month later, on Monday January 11, a second student reported that she had been raped by an unidentified man near the Rhodes Memorial restaurant.

Ms Kruger said although the woman who was attacked on Monday is not connected to UCT, they are deeply concerned as the incident took place near their campus.

“Campus security and the South African Police Services provided support to the woman, even ensured that she was taken to hospital where she received medical attention and other support,” said Ms Kruger.

In a statement from the institution, UCT vice-chancellor, Dr Max Price, and representatives from the Department of Student Affairs and campus security visited the area on Tuesday morning.

“The university will work with all stakeholders to ensure that criminal activities are dealt with in the Rhodes Memorial area and that safety and security in the vicinity is restored.

“It is deeply concerning that Monday’s incident brings to three the number of attacks on women in the Rhodes Memorial area.

“We reiterate our reminder to all within our campus community to be vigilant around the Rhodes Memorial area in particular and if at all possible to avoid the area,” Ms Kruger said.

Meanwhile, Lindokuhle Patiwe, spokesperson for the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (PASMA), said their members’ confidence in their safety at the institution had declined.

However, the university said there are various security mechanisms in place on campus to ensure the safety of students and staff.

UCT media liaison officer, Elijah Moholola, said the university regularly issues safety awareness tips to students and staff.

Through various communication channels such as the website, brochures and social media, important safety tips are shared with the campus community. UCT also works closely with the SAPS and the Groote Schuur Central Improvement District to keep abreast of safety concerns surrounding the campus.

“The university will create as much awareness as possible so that the campus community becomes aware of areas that might potentially be unsafe, especially after dark.

“The university is also part of a range of networks that monitors safety around the Rhodes Memorial and will engage all involved on improving safety around the area,” he added.

Last year police arrested a 24-year-old student activist who had been on the run after he allegedly raped a 20-year-old fellow student.

The incident happened on Sunday November 10 inside the Avenue House, also known as Azania House, in Mowbray, where the female student, a #FeesMustFall activist, along with other students had been campaigning (“Arrest in student rape case”, Tatler, November 19).

The safety and security checklist can be viewed on the UCT website.

Any suspicious activities on campus should be reported to the security office immediately by calling Campus Protection Services on 021 650 2222/3.