ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: In a letter addressed to Stellenbosch University management, parent Anthony McLaughlin predicted a surge in violence in the town and appealed to various people to pre-empt this occurrence. Picture: Tracey Adams
Stellenbosch - Concerned parents fear for the lives of their children who are studying at Stellenbosch University following the murder of Hannah Cornelius.

One such parent, Anthony McLaughlin, has two sons, one of whom studies politics at the university. His other son graduated in 2014. While in town to attend his graduation, they were held up at knife-point. “We were attacked around lunchtime by nine children who came to us holding knives,” McLaughlin said.

They were robbed of their cellphones and wallets. He wrote to the institution, accusing them of “lying and covering up” the issue of security on campus.

McLaughlin said his son who is still studying feared for his life after Hannah was murdered.

“My son is petrified and, for me as a parent, I’m scared for him,” he said adding that his son’s flat had been broken into a number of times last month.

Stellenbosch University spokesperson Martin Viljoen said the institution understood the concerns of parents and that the safety of students remained its priority.

“Over the last few years, the university has on a number of occasions expressed its concern about the crime situation in our country on various platforms and forums. The violent nature of this incident is testimony to the challenges that we face as a country,” he said.

Viljoen said the university had increased the number of guards on the streets and had upped the number of security personnel in the pedestrian escort service.

“We furthermore welcome initiatives of our student community (like the WhatsApp groups). This will complement the existing safety structures on campus.”

About 250 students from Stellenbosch University marched this week against crime in the area. After the march, the students handed over a memorandum to the university’s management.

MURDERED: Hannah Cornelius

Marcher Luke Waltham said they were disgusted and worried by the high levels of crime, especially around the campus.

“We don’t want to live in fear and worry about our safety. Our students are at a major risk of being hijacked, stabbed, robbed and killed within the proximity of the university.

“We will have to improve the efficiency of the security services by improving the time security (services) get to students who may be in danger,” he said.

Meanwhile, a fourth suspect has appeared in the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court in connection with Cornelius’s murder last Friday.

The four suspects are Eben van Niekerk, 27, Vernon Witbooi, 32, Geraldo Parsons, 26, and Nashwill Julies, 28.

They will appear in court again on July 28.

Cape Argus