Noswal Hall house committee is requesting an installation of security fence at Noswal Hall residence due to ceaseless sexual bullying, alleged selling and abuse of drugs, gambling, littering and noise pollution.
RESIDENTS of Noswal Hall are under siege from groups that congregate around the residence, subjecting them to constant sexual bullying, alleged selling and abuse of drugs, gambling, littering and noise pollution. And they accuse the University of being deaf and blind to their plight.
The residents believe that the key perpetrators of the nuisance are mainly, but not exclusively, Rosebank College students.
The house committee chairperson, Nhlalala Chauke, told Wits Vuvuzela that female residents repeatedly complain about the derogatory sexual remarks they receive from the group when accessing the residence. “From the complaints that we received, one female student told us she was spanked, and couldn’t defend herself. Another female said she was pulled by the hand and verbally harassed by the group, outside the entrance of the residence,” Chauke said.
Morongwa Maito, a 24-year-old resident said it was a struggle to get in and out of the residence. “It is a very annoying situation, because I am scared. Most of the time they approach me and start calling me names. I hate it,” said Maito.
Another resident, Sibusiso Mkhabela, 25, told Wits Vuvuzela that the issue of littering is getting out of hand. “In the morning the whole place is dirty, and there are bottles everywhere. I hate the fact that when coming to my residence I find a lot of people drinking, smoking and making noise. It is also a bad image on us,” Mkhabela said.
The hall residents have gone as far as compiling a petition, which was signed by over 200 of the 399 students, requesting that the university fence off the residence, and for increased security patrols.
According to the house committee, efforts by the management of Noswal Hall to resolve the issue have not found support from the university management. “This marks the shift of the university from its responsibility and its negligence to make sure that every student feels safe around the university premises and provide study friendly environments,” the house committee said in a March 10 letter to Robert Sharman, the director of Campus Housing and Res Life and the director of Protection Services, Mokgawa Kobe, among others.
The house committee also sent evidence of the nuisance in the form of videos and photographs.
Charles Mhlongo, a security guard who works at Noswal Hall, said there are men who frequently come to the area to sell drugs. “They don’t only sell weed but other kinds of drugs. When the police come they disperse,” he said.
Mhlongo told Wits Vuvuzela that while on duty, he has witnessed females being harassed. “They mistreat girls, and there is nothing I can do because they also threaten me. This other time I told this guy to stop leaning against the wall, he threatened me, and said he will bring his friends to beat me up,” Mhlongo said.
Nhlalala Chauke, the chairperson of Noswal Hall said on the March 24, a guest of a Noswal Hall resident was stabbed in the head outside the residence. He said the individual was taken to hospital, and was released on Tuesday, April 4.
The house committee told Wits Vuvuzela that Sharman had asked the Joburg Metro police patrol the area on Fridays, but had found out that the City has a policy of not arresting people drinking in public streets.
Sharman had also met with the principal of Rosebank College to regulate the garbage area under the parking ramp on Stiemens Street. However, Rosebank, like Wits, has no authority over the public space used by the groups to cause trouble.
This is why the Noswal Hall residents believe the solution would be a security fence around the residence, and have rejected Sharman’s proposal to install CCTV cameras and more lights.
“We need fencing not security addition, because the security guards are also threatened and scared,’’ Chauke said.
Wits does not own Noswal Hall, but leases it from Zenprop Property Holdings.
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