Darren Solomon, the brother of Jesse Hess, speaking at her memorial service at UWC yesterday. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Hours before the University of Western Cape (UWC) was to remember slain student Jesse Hess, the institution was rocked by rape allegations as police took a male student in for questioning.

Bellville South police were called to UWC Kovacs residence at about 1am to control a crowd of students who were up in arms after a student allegedly raped and beat up a female student in one of the rooms.

Police spokesperson Siyabulela Malo would not comment on reports that police fired shots.

He said no injuries were reported during the process of removing the alleged suspect from the residence. He was taken to Bellville South police for questioning.

UWC spokesperson Gasant Abarder said the university had noted rumours of the rape of a student on campus but had not received any reports on the matter.

“UWC confirms that the SAPS responded to a complaint about disruption at the Kovacs residence in the early hours of this morning (yesterday). We understand that students had gone to the residence to point out who they claimed were suspected rapists.

“Students allegedly tried to apprehend the individuals. Police arrived on the scene and took action in an attempt to disperse the crowd.The students accused of these crimes were removed from the premises. 

Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)

"The university also understands that there are reports of shots being fired by police officers. We request that these allegations should be verified by the SAPS,” said Abarder.

He said that the institution was aware of heightened anger in the wake of the murders of young students, including Jesse Hess, and other acts of violence against women.

Hess, a first-year theology student, was found murdered last Friday, along with her 85-year-old grandfather Chris at their home in Victoria Street, Parow.

Yesterday, the main hall at UWC was packed to capacity as staff, students and relatives paid tribute to the 19-year-old.

Hess’s brother, Darren Solomon, said: “If it wasn't for her I wouldn't be half the person I am today. She was a loving, caring, smart individual who was determined to work for the Lord.”

In a statement, UWC's Student Representative Council said: “We will never tolerate or normalise a situation whereby our sisters live in fear due to gender-based violence caused by perpetrators.”

Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency (ANA)