Despite continued efforts by Wits to tighten security, the safety of cars in and around campus is not guaranteed, especially at night.
Thabang Sefalafala nearly lost his Opel Corsa when the car’s rear windshield was shattered in a car-theft attempt on the last day of the first block in April.
The sociology masters student usually parks in front of the Chemistry Building on East Campus until the early hours of the morning to use the Wartenweiler Library’s 24-hour section.
“I did not see the damage on the windshield immediately because it appeared like water drops as it had been raining that night,” he said.
After noticing the damage in the morning Sefalafala headed to Wits to report the incident. He was “shocked” to discover that a student who also drives an Opel Corsa was there to report a hole drilled in his car window in line with the unlocking pad also in a car-theft attempt.
“I was told by security that the glass must have been hit with a spark plug to break it,” Sefalafala said.
Sefalafala’s car was saved by a “smash-and-grab” system he installed in the windows and windshields which acts as a buffer enabling the glass to withstand massive force when struck. This prevented the glass from breaking despite the countless cracks.
Sefalafala raised the concern of “whether it is students who are doing these things” and feels that “Wits is too big a community to be left in the hands of Campus Control alone”.
“We should look out for each other or else we are all going to cry,” he said.
Walter Lemao from Campus Control believes this is the “work of outside criminals” who find their way onto campus. After observing the damage to both cars, he said: “These problems often arise because students swipe-in strangers onto campus, thinking that they are being helpful.
“In this way we are unable to fully monitor who is on campus and because we are stationed at gates and buildings mainly, it is difficult to keep an eye everywhere.”