Wits is investigating a case of alleged rape at Ernest Oppenheimer Hall of Residence.
The case was reported by residence security on records dated May 14 at about 4am. The investigation involves a male resident of EOH and a female student at Wits.
According to the security record, the male student had two female friends visiting his room. They allegedly consumed alcohol after watching movies and fell asleep.
A neighbouring resident was alerted by the girl’s “screaming and shouting in the courtyard area,” said Nazime Randera, assistant registrar of the Parktown residences.
“I was called on Saturday morning at 7:05 by the hall co-ordinator who was informed by a neighbouring student,” he said. Randera added the student who reported it to the hall co-ordinator is part of the residence house committee.
The complainant was accompanied to Milpark Hospital and advised to see the head of Campus Health. “We’ve arranged the proper support and counselling,” said Randera. “We won’t sweep this under the carpet.”
The accused was allegedly arrested but has since been released. Only one of the female students has laid a complaint.
“The proper instruction was given to him [the accused], so he won’t speak to the complainant.” The male student is currently not allowed to have any form of communication – verbal or electronic -with the girl.
“I’m not at liberty to suspend the student from residence until a formal hearing has been held,” Randera said.
“We view allegations of this nature in a very serious light. We’re not trying to wash our hands of this matter. All the relevant parties [Campus Control, legal office and the dean of students] have been notified.”
Director of Campus Control, Robert Kemp, said: “There is a set protocol in place for dealing with an incident of this nature, Campus Control followed this protocol.” Kemp said the matter is being addressed by the legal office.
According to residence rules, overnight visitors are not allowed. “We’re also looking at this infringement of the residence rules,” Randera said.
Bongani Machabe, chairman of the EOH house committee, said he was not made aware of the incident.
“I heard people talking in passing at res. We’re planning to meet with Nazime this week to talk about it,” he said.
The Counselling and Careers Development Unit (CCDU) held a series of seminars last week at residences as part of their annual awareness campaign on sexual harassment. Students at EOH received an email which encouraged them to attend the workshop, “due to a number of unpleasant incidents which were recently reported in the residences”.