The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) student captured on video footage being stabbed, allegedly by her husband, who is said to be a UWC student, had successful surgery following the incident on Saturday, according to a student close to her.
“I can’t say much at this stage, only that she was not stabbed 20 times as the rumours claim. She has been operated on and is also able to speak,” the student told the Cape Times on Sunday.
The 30-year-old man who allegedly attacked her is under police watch at a hospital after irate students allegedly assaulted him for stabbing the 26-year-old at South Point, the Orchard student accommodation in Belhar.
In graphic footage which has prompted widespread condemnation, the woman is on the floor on her back. She is seemingly weak and tries to block the weapon with her one arm, but is stabbed in the side of her stomach.
The short video ends as three men attempt to get close and grab the attacker.
In other footage, the UWC student is seen assaulted by a mob of and is later rescued by members of an armed security response team.
Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said Belhar police registered an attempted murder case following a stabbing incident.
“Circumstances surrounding this stabbing incident are under investigation. A 30-year-old male suspect was arrested and is currently under police guard in hospital. The injured victim was transported to a nearby medical facility for treatment,” said Van Wyk.
According to a leaked message that was meant to be confidential between CPUT students close to the victim, the cause of the incident was allegedly due to the 26-year-old rejecting her husband and moving back to her residential room.
CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said by Sunday the student was critical but stable.
“A female CPUT student is recovering in hospital after being violently stabbed by a male known to her. The alleged perpetrator is a student at a neighbouring university.
“The incident happened at a privately owned residence. The female student sustained serious injuries and was transferred to Tygerberg Hospital for emergency surgery.
“She is being supported by CPUT management and at this stage our focus is on her recovery and well-being and notifying her family. The alleged perpetrator has been arrested and will await a court appearance,” she said.
According to Kansley, therapy has been offered to fellow students who may have been traumatised by the incident.
The university is also expected to roll out face-to-face counselling this week.
“We will also work in conjunction with SAPS to ensure a full investigation is carried out,” she added.
UWC spokesperson Gasant Abarder said the university noted disturbing reports that one of its students stabbed his spouse at her residence.
“The university condemns any act of gender-based violence in our society.
“The university will liaise with the SAPS and will take immediate action against its students as soon as it receives the relevant details of the incident from both SAPS and its own investigating team. We confirm our stance that perpetrators of such gender-based violence have no place at our campuses,” said Gasant.
Last night UWC and CPUT Student Representative Councils (SRC) , joined by students, held an interfaith night vigil and candle-lit ceremony to pray and stand in solidarity with all victims and survivors of gender-based violence (GBV).
“As the SRC we condemn gender-based violence, and we stand with the victims. It is disheartening that we had a march on these very issues yet we are to grieve once more in less than 24 hours of voicing our grievances. It’s always one’s choice to commit such a gruesome act of stabbing a woman in public repeatedly with no sign of remorse. We come together in unity condemning these heinous acts. It is crucial that we raise our voices against GBV and foster an environment that is safe and build a student community that has respect for life and human dignity.
“The candlelight ceremony symbolises our commitment to illuminating the darkness surrounding these issues and striving for a future where everyone can live without fear,” they said.
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande’s spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said the minister welcomed the arrest, saying the incident was “merciless and barbaric”.
“As part of dealing with gender-based violence in our institutions, Minister Nzimande launching the Transforming MENtalities Initiative, which is a multi-stakeholder partnership within the PSET, with a particular focus on mobilising men in our sector to be part of championing a world free of gender biases, stereotypes, violence and discrimination,” he said.
Nzimande urged all institutions working with Higher Health to continue working collectively in implementing programmes towards addressing the challenges of sexual and gender-based violence within the Post-School Education and Training system.
The EFF Student Command Council (EFFSC) said: “It is worth mentioning that incidents of this nature speak directly to the question of safety and security of students in our residences.
We call on the university and South Point to take full responsibility to ensure that this matter is accordingly addressed and equally so dealt with precision.
“However, this raises eyebrows about the safety and protection of women at CPUT, noting that this is not the first incident of victimisation of a female student within the CPUT arena.”
Ilitha Labantu spokesperson Siyabulela Monakali said they had been in communication with both institutions and offered their services to assist.
GBV activist Reverend June Dolley-Major said the high percentage of GBV at higher learning institutions and the gruesomeness involved were disturbing.