A former Wits Student Representative Council (SRC) sub-committee member will remain in custody at the Hillbrow Police Station following his arrest on a charge of rape on Tuesday, April 10.
The student was arrested following the alleged rape of a fellow Wits student at the Junction residence in Parktown before the Easter break.
Sergeant Mduduzi Zondo from the Hillbrow Police Station confirmed the alleged perpetrator’s arrest. “I can confirm that the suspect was arrested at the Wits campus on a charge of rape,” Zondo said.
Zondo told Wits Vuvuzela that the suspect has since appeared at the Johannesburg Magistrates Court and is set to make a second court appearance. “His second court appearance will be on the 18th of April for bail application,” he said.
Wits Gender Equity Office (GEO) confirmed that the incident had been reported to their office on the same day as the arrest and that they had met with the victim the following day.
“The victim is not a resident at Junction. The GEO is in touch with her daily and she is receiving counselling support. The GEO is currently supporting the preparation of her case within the University,” said Crystal Dicks, Director of GEO.
Dicks told Wits Vuvuzela that although the perpetrator remains a student at the university, he has been suspended from his residence where he previously served as a house committee member.
“The accused is currently suspended from Junction residence. A suspension order from the University has been drafted but has not been served as the accused is currently in police custody,” she said.
Wits SRC president, Orediretse Masebe, said that his organisation is unable to comment on the matter and will release an official statement about the arrest in the coming days.
“This is a sensitive issue involving the safety and well-being of a student. It is important that the SRC is not careless with confidential information,” he said.
Chairperson of the Wits Junction House Committee Nombulelo Zulu has distanced the committee from the perpetrator’s alleged actions.
“We will continue to support the survivor and everyone who is interested in seeing this through and seeing justice being served,” she said.
Zulu told Wits Vuvuzela that the committee understood the severity of the accusations against the suspect and hopes it will not ruin the image of the residence.
“We take the allegations against him very seriously because we understand the impact it has, not only on the Wits community but on the Wits Junction community.”
“It is a co-ed residence so we will not allow perpetrators to live comfortably at the Wits Junction, we will take action against any other perpetrator,” she added.