Cape Town - The rape of a 22-year-old Matie in a student house has been described by the acting vice-chancellor of Stellenbosch University as a despicable act, saying “the offender must be punished to the full extent of the law”.
Professor Leopold van Huyssteen said the university was doing everything possible to support the woman who was raped during a break-in in Joubert Street in Stellenbosch on Saturday morning.
The incident happened just a day after the university’s senate accepted a recommendation that, from next year, “arrangements could be made for tests and exams not to be taken at night”.
The last official time for tests and exams would be 5.30pm.
It also follows a “significant increase” in muggings on campus and elsewhere in the town at the end of the first semester.
Additional security measures were taken.
“These ranged from transport services after examinations to the doubling of the guards on the campus walkways as well as high-level talks with the municipality and police with a view to joint crime prevention operations.
“The university also responded to an urgent request from the campus community for greater visibility of campus security officers.
All officials were fitted with neon-coloured bibs in addition to the distinctive colours of the patrol cars and motorcycles,” the university said.
Before the “wave of crime” the university’s management had made a “significant” investment in securing residences by installing card readers and monitoring cameras at all administrative and academic buildings.
“In addition, more than 200 high resolution security cameras, at a cost of several million rand, were deployed on the central campus in an effort to make the campus safer and to curb crime. However, as security measures are improved, criminals turn to new modus operandi.”
Two men are believed to have been involved in Saturday’s incident.
The university said the windows that could be opened had been secured with burglar bars but the burglar broke a portion of a window that couldn not be opened, removed the glass and got into the room. The room’s resident was away for the night.
“The burglar gained access to the house through this room while the second person kept guard outside.”
The university said that as with all other buildings, student houses were continuously inspected and upgraded, where possible.
The student and her family are being supported by the university’s crisis service.
Police spokesman Colonel Tembinkosi Kinana said a case of house robbery and rape had been opened.
No arrests have been made.
Staff and students can report emergencies or suspicious activity to the university’s emergency number at 021 808 2333.