Protection Services vows to keep Wits a drug-free area after recent police sweep
Wits Protection Services has started to perform drug sweeps in joint operations with the South African Police Service and Johannesburg Metro Police. The first was on the Wits East and West campuses on February 28.
Wits operations manager John Sibisi said that this was the first operation where the ‘hot spots’ on campus were targeted but nothing was found. But when asked to confirm where these ‘hot spots’ were, Sibisi said that no specific places were targeted and that the whole campus was searched.
The director of Protection Services, Mokgawa Kobe, confirmed that there were police officers conducting operations on Wits Main Campus on February 28, in search of drugs.
“[The police] were here to support protection services in a quest to prevent drug-related crimes on campus. Several areas on East and West Campuses including [the] School of Arts, were patrolled,” said Kobe. The exact type of drugs they were searching for was not confirmed.
Fine Arts Masters student Michael Cheesman reported seeing heavily armed police men with dogs at the Wits School of Arts. He told Wits Vuvuzela that he was slightly shocked and surprised to see the police in the courtyard and in the printmaking studio where he works. He said that no one knew why the police were there since he had never witnessed a patrol of this nature during his four years at Wits.
Cheesman added that the students and cleaners in the building speculated that it was a drug raid. “I don’t understand the necessity for drug patrols. Is there really a drug problem on campus?” he said.
According to Cheesman, although there were police men in his building and work space, they caused no interruptions to the students.
Sibisi said this would not be the last raid. He confirmed that Wits has a partnership with the Johannesburg Metro Police and that operations should not worry law-abiding students. “This was for the benefit of students and the university community. This is not the end, we will request [the police] again,” he added.
Wits Vuvuzela, Security beefed up around Wits campuses following incidents, February 14, 2018