WITSIES are victims of men on the prowl for cellphones and money on Mandela Bridge.

Vuvuzela spoke to some of the victims. First year BA student, Molebogeng Mpakanyane, said she was robbed at gun point by a man who demanded her cellphone and money at about 7pm during Orientation week.

Mpakanyane had met friends for drinks on campus and later crossed Mandela Bridge by herself to catch a taxi to Diepsloot.

The man said he would not hurt her if she co-operated by giving him her cellphone.

“I couldn’t sleep that night; I was nervous,” she said.

Students should ensure that they are in groups when crossing that bridge, Mpakanyane said: “It is not safe at all.”

Mduduzi Sangweni, a security guard at the bridge, said muggings are common despite his presence and that of other security guards 24 hours a day. He said they work hand-in-hand with the police.

Third year BA student, Mmathapelo Khutoane, said she was travelling with a friend from the Carlton Centre to their residence, Jubilee Hall, last year.

Two men followed them across the Mandela Bridge and pointed a knife at them, demanding their cell phones. “Cars passed by but no one noticed we were being robbed,” said Khutoane.

Her friend, who did not want to be named, described the incident as “traumatising”.

” I’ve never walked on Mandela Bridge since that day,” she said.

She said the bridge is not safe and most students, especially first years should be alert as these criminals are “hungry for cash”.

Another student, who also did not want to be named, said she and her cousin were on their way to Newtown where they live when two boys “about 15 years’ old” demanded money and cellphones from them. They didn’t have any weapons but they looked “dodgy,” she said.

For fear of being beaten up or raped, her cousin gave them R50 and their cellphones.

“The boys were cruel; they called us insulting names and even threatened to push us over the bridge after we had given them our belongings,” she said.

“I was scared to death but I thank God they didn’t hurt us. Mandela Bridge is not safe, those people target students,” the 2nd year BSc student said.