Venda University’s VC implements improved security measures in aftermath of serial killings

Following the murders of four young women, three of them students, in and around the University of Venda campus, security is now under the personal watch of the vice chancellor (VC), and university management.

A delegation led by VC Prof Peter Mbati has recognised the urgent need for improved security to “mitigate against the assaults and murders experienced by” the university community.

Mbati said he was “completely devastated” when he received the news that a university staff member, cleaner Brenda Ndove, had been murdered on campus on June 22. This came just three months after the death of a female student, Livhuwani Mbodi.

In an effort to better understand the security risks faced by students, especially those living off campus, the VC visited all three of the off-campus residences. “We emphasised the need for improved security features at these residences,” he said, in a report issued to the university’s campus community last Wednesday.

Consisting of university management and student leadership, the delegation met last month to discuss and implement security for staff and students in a number of different ways.

These include the purchase of a security patrol vehicle, an increase in the number of security guards across campus, creating a community policing forum, the installation of more CCTV cameras all over campus and limited access to buildings, offices and residences on campus.

The delegation was assured by the South African Police Service (SAPS) that their concerns would be taken into serious consideration and according to Mbati, the municipality also gave its commitment in improving street lighting around the university’s main gate.

“I am hopeful that with the tightening of our internal security infrastructure, and with the support of the SAPS, we will significantly mitigate against the risk of violent crimes against our staff and students,” Mbati said.

Mbati encouraged students and staff to exercise caution and avoid walking alone in the dark or in the very early hours of the morning.

Last week, A 24-year-man, also a student at the university was arrested in connection with the spate of murders on the campus.

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

Limited job opportunities for international students at careers fair

Limited job opportunities for international students at careers fair

NATIONAL EDGE?:  A recruiter explains to Witsies their available options for their career applications.  Photo: Lameez Omarjee

NATIONAL EDGE?: A recruiter explains to Witsies their available options for their career applications. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

International students can forget about applying for jobs in South Africa, unless they have an identity document (ID) or work permit. This was the general message at a careers fair, held earlier today at the Old Mutual Sports Hall at Wits.

The Counselling and Careers Developmental Unit’s (CCDU) graduate recruitment programme organised the fair for students from across all faculties but there was little on offer for students from outside South Africa.

Limited choices

International student Tinashe Chuchu, Masters in Marketing, attended the fair to look for potential recruiters and employment opportunities. He said the fair was a good initiative by Wits, however his choices are limited given his degree and nationality.

“There were a wide variety of opportunities for engineering students, social sciences students and commerce students,” he said.  However he was turned away by companies who were not looking foreign students. “I left out all the banks, for obvious reasons.  They do not take anyone who is not South African,” Chuchu said.

“I think the labour department puts (sic) regulations for companies to fulfil quotas,” he said.  In his own experience of looking for jobs, Chuchu found that there were positions advertised for international students, but only for specific and scarce skills sets.

Laws and regulations

Kwame Owusu-Ansah, masters in Chemical Engineering, shared Chuchu’s views.  Although there were many opportunities, Owusu-Ansah said some of them were very “shaky”.  You can apply for some positions, but then you have to make sure you can get a work permit.

“I have a wide variety of choices because I’m an engineer.  But until they find out I’m an international student, it slashes by three quarters.”

“Initially if you got an offer there would be an opportunity for you to get a permit.  But now you may get an offer, and not a get permit”

He explained that South African labour regulations are more stringent than in previous years.  “They often refuse permits for international students, even if they give you an offer,” he said.

Lloyd Uta, an international student completing his Masters in Marketing, found companies that were looking for applicants from South Africa and abroad.  Those were big multi-national companies and a few smaller companies looking to increase their human capital, he said.

However, Uta admits, “Choices are limited.  I have to keep switching between what I want to do (marketing) and what I can do (IT),” to find job openings.

Employers voice

Amos Kova,  a graduate recruitment manager at a bank explained why applicants had to be South African citizens, “We believe that we have an obligation to South Africa”.

Bohlale Paile, also a graduate recruitment manager at a bank said: “We don’t take international students at this point.  We did before, but we ran into problems when it came to getting work permits”.

She explained that the Department of Labour required recruiters to motivate why non-South African citizens were chosen over South African citizens.

The motivation process and applications for work permits take time, which holds international graduates back from starting the graduate programme timeously.

Raj Naran, the Career Development Educator and Team Leader Career Services at CCDU said this year, the careers fair was open to everybody.  “It does not have a specific focus.”

Companies came from industries where there was a shortage in a skills set, such as “accounting, engineering and commerce” he said.

Naran added that students should earn their jobs, develop themselves and prepare well, “and certainly, academic records play a role”.

Another careers fair is scheduled for September this year.

 

RELATED ARTICLES:

 

SCIENCE INSIDE: The science and psychology of protest action and the platinum strikes

During the first 90 days of 2014, South Africa experienced nearly 3000 protest actions, more than 30 a day, involving nearly one million people.

Protests and strike action are characteristic of a democratic South Africa, for better or for worse. In this show we look at the facts around protests in SA, and we look at the role of crowd psychology. And in light of recent unrest in the platinum belt, we look at platinum as a commodity.

The Science Inside, the show that goes inside the science of major news events, is produced by Paul McNally, Anina Mumm, DJ Keyez and Lutfiyah Suliman for The Wits Radio Academy.

Tune in live to VowFM every Monday at 6pm.

If the full podcast does not load automatically, please click here.

 

Wits young leaders on the rise

BRIGHT STAR:  Arthur Motolla, from AIESEC Wits explains that Wits University won the Rising Star Award at the AIESEC June Leadership Summit.  Photo: Lameez Omarjee

BRIGHT STAR: Arthur Motolla from AIESEC Wits with the Rising Star trophy. Photo: Lameez Omarjee

A global student leadership organisation has recognised its Wits chapter through an award that also acknowledges the work of its members.

AIESEC Wits (an acronym in French for the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences) received the Rising Star Award during the June leadership summit (JLS) held at Port Elizabeth’s Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMU).

The award recognised the efforts of Witsies from the society were involved in travel and leadership conferences, during the winter break, which allowed the chapter to fulfill the required number of exchanges and projects within a twelve month period.

AIESEC brings together student leaders from across the world towards the betterment of society as a whole.

Leadership summit

Ten students from Wits attended the five-day JLS which brought together chapters from a number of  different universities.

The summit focused on the relevance of African talent and explored leadership in South Africa within AIESEC, according to Onthatile Nataboge, 4th year BEd and president of AIESEC Wits.

Arthur Motolla, 1st year BA student, attended the JLS for the first time.  He said speakers stressed the importance of embracing Africa’s mosaic of cultures instead of striving for a unique African identity.

“Opportunity lies with the disadvantaged.  That is where opportunities lie for entrepreneurs.  That is where you can expect the most amount of growth,” he said as he reflected on the things he learned at the summit.

“I am still overwhelmed by JLS,” exclaimed Duduetsang Mmeti, 2nd year LLB.  She explained that students were encouraged to contribute African solutions to African problems.

RELATED ARTICLES: