Cape Town - Students at UWC have blamed the university for ignoring complaints about safety after the death of fellow student Kamva Dasi, 22, who was killed close to his university residence.
Dasi and five fellow students were walking not far from their Unibell hostel residence when they were robbed at gunpoint. In the midst of the scuffle Dasi was shot and declared dead on the scene.
The Student Representative Council (SRC) and The Black Lawyers Association Chapter (BLAsc) respectively issued statements partly blaming the university for dragging its feet when it came to providing safety for students.
The SRC said the issue of safety had long been raised by them, but the university had failed to act.
“Contrary to what many at the top would love to believe, the university has the responsibility to ensure the safety and security of our students is of utmost importance in the place that the university itself accredits and deems ‘fit’ for students to occupy.
“We call on the university to own up and take responsibility of having failed to ensure that its students are well secured in the area where it has accredited private accommodation and deemed fit for occupants.”
BLAsc said: “The passing of Kamva, among other things, serves as a wake-up call for the university to prioritise safety of students in private accommodation.
“In doing so it must pay close attention to those who live in these murderous and inhuman streets of Belhar.
“The university owes students a duty of care, and it is under the obligation to ensure that all students are safe.”
UWC spokesperson Gasant Abarder said the safety of students was always of paramount importance.
“We do engage with our student leadership regularly and our management works hard to prioritise the safety and security of our students – even when they are off campus as was the case on Saturday.
“Unfortunately, we also live in a city with a high rate of violent crime and as a university community we are not immune to this reality.”
Asked if they had tried to resolve the issue of safety for students before the incident, Abarder said: “We are a community in grief at the moment of this heinous crime.
“A while ago we contacted CPUT, Northlink, Belhar SAPS, Neighbourhood Watch and businesses to meet on May 3 at UWC to discuss the establishment of a Unibell Anti-Crime Combating Forum for this precinct.”