Is Wits doing enough to keep us safe?

“At the moment, we are pushing crime further and further away from the university,” claims Gary Kruser, Director of Campus Protection Services.

After the recent Braamfontein shooting, where two students were caught in the crossfire, Wits Campus Protection Services (CPS) has enhanced security measures in the area. 

Kruser said, “We use what we call underground people who are not wearing uniform. We will never give details on the increased number of security [measures] because it gives away our advantage,” he said.  

Part of the deployment of security guards, CPS works jointly with South African Police Services (SAPS), Metro Police and stakeholders such as Bad Boyz Security, private security which covers Wits’ Braamfontein and Parktown campuses. 

Slindile Mazibuko, from the Wits Service Department, says she feels safe because of CPS. “They are always on their guard station. I say this because I’m using public transport to come to work so always when I get to the entrance, I find a security guard welcoming me well,” she said.

Bangelihle Mudau, a second-year student says, “I don’t really think there has been an increase in security services specifically at the gates where biometrics are needed to enter or exit. There are no security guards present at times to safeguard us and check who is entering the campus. As I am standing here, I am afraid to wait for my bus outside the premises because I have my laptop in my bag, and it is risky.”

A Campus Protection Service campaign was recently held on campus to arm students with information about what security services are at their disposal. Photo: Sanele Sithetho

CPS is implementing ongoing crime prevention campaigns by going to residences and faculties to create awareness. Additionally, CPS is forming a structure to open a mobile service centre in the next couple of months, so more incidents of crime can be recorded and responded to.

The CPS is urging students to download the mySOS app on the Google Play Store or App Store.  The mySOS app has a response time of three to five minutes after you have pressed the panic button, and it can help get one out of danger once a response team is activated via the 24 hour CPS operation centre.

Wits Vuvuzela journalist in attempted hijacking in Auckland Park, robbed at gunpoint

A second Wits Vuvuzela journalist has become a victim of crime in just as many days.

Last night, a journalist was involved in an attempted hijacking and robbed of her wallet and jewellery at gunpoint. The incident happened just twenty four hours after another journalist was mugged on Wits University campus after the Bidvest Wits vs Orlando Pirates match.

The  attempted hijacking took place on Annet Road near the University of Johannesburg’s Bunting Road Campus around midnight.

The student journalist, who has asked not to be named, stopped at a traffic light and was approached by a man, who came out of nowhere.

The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a gun, demanding for her to get out of her vehicle. Before she got out, she managed to throw her cellphone onto the floor of her vehicle and out of sight.

The journalist says she could not drive off as her vehicle was stuck between two cars at the red traffic light.

[pullquote] The man reached into his pocket and pulled out a gun, demanding her to get out of her vehicle. [/pullquote]

Once out of her vehicle, the hijacker, acting alone, took her wallet with cash and driver’s licence and a ring of sentimental value.

A man in the vehicle next to her got out and asked what was happening. This scared the aggressor who then fled on foot.

The student was driving home after a late night working on campus.

With an increasing rate of crime in and around the area, students are encouraged to be vigilant at all times. Ensure your vehicle is locked and keep valuables out of sight.

Wits Campus Control can be reached on 011 717 4444 or 011 717 6666 or 011 717 1801.

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Witsie witnesses weekend mugging

Witsies leaving campus on foot at night should beware of a group of men posing as students but are actually thieves who want to rob them of their possessions.

Last Friday 3rd year BA student Joseph Tembe was making his way to a friend’s place from a party at Bozzoli when he witnessed two Witsies  being accosted by a group of more than four men on Bertha street in front of the chapel, not far from the OLS (Old Mutual Life Sciences) turnstiles.

“There were two guys walking ahead of me [who] looked like students. A group of guys who also looked like students approached them … they looked like they knew each other.”

“I looked at their shoes and everything and they looked just like us,” Tembe said

[pullquote]”There was nothing he could do and that the men might attack him next.”[/pullquote]

The Politics and English Literature major said he became suspicious when it started to sound like there was an argument going on between the two groups of men.

Tembe said he then noticed another man, wearing a dark green shirt, looking on from the traffic island across the street, as if “checking the coast”.

“I remember when I was robbed on Mandela Bridge. A guy came past and and asked the guys [who were robbing me] if they had taken the phone,” Tembe said.

Tembe did not stay long enough to see what happened next, thinking there was nothing he could do and that the men might attack him next

It was not the last he would see of the group though.

Tembe was outside the South Point residence opposite KFC on De Korte street, using a friend’s phone to call a cab home, when he recognised the same group of men approaching him.

“I was on the phone and those guys came … I recognised them; one in the green shirt and the other in a red shirt … [But] when they saw the guy I’d borrowed the phone from and his girlfriend they turned away.”

Tembe said the group carried on walking down De Korte street.

Muggings, car break-ins and violent attacks have been a constant threat to Wits students, and the kidnapping of a University of Johannesburg on campus last Thursday, have made safety on an around campus a real issue.

Wits’s Campus Control is in the process of hiring a Crime Prevention and Liaison Manager.

The post will be filled by the end of the month, and the manager will be responsible for implementing a crime awareness programme aimed at upping student awareness of safety issues on campus.