SAVE OUR STUDENTS: Stellenbosch students picketed outside the Stellenbosch Magistrate's Court yesterday where two suspects appeared for the murder of Hannah Cornelius. Picture: BHEKI RADEBE
The two men arrested for the murder of 21-year-old Hannah Cornelius have been charged with rape, kidnapping and murder, it emerged at the Stellenbosch Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

The accused have also been charged with attempted murder after fellow Stellenbosch student Cheslin Marsh escaped during the ordeal.

Marsh had been with Cornelius at the time of the hijacking.

A third man, who was arrested on Sunday, did not appear in court yesterday. Reasons for the man’s failure to appear were unclear at the time of publishing.

Vernon Witbooi, 32, and Geraldo Parsons, 26, will remain in custody until July 28 for a bail application. It emerged in court that Witbooi also faces charges related to another case.

The court gallery was packed to capacity with some friends of Cornelius having to sit on the floor. Some stood on the sidelines while others stood outside. Protesters, mostly from Stellenbosch University, held placards denouncing violence against women.

Cornelius’s classmate, Tshego Matsha, told the Cape Times she had known Cornelius for the last six months. Matsha described Cornelius as a “sweet soul”.

“I don’t think any of us can deal with the fact that she is no longer here. She was not like soft, soft, soft, but fun as well. Getting to know her was like getting to know myself.

“People need to know Stellenbosch (University) is not safe and people don’t go out after six (6pm) because it does not feel safe. The campus is full of security, but we don’t know what is security doing to ensure of our safety.”

“We, as students of Stellenbosch University and residents of this community, are horrified, disgusted and appalled,” student activist Luke Waltham told the Cape Argus.

“A massive concern that we, as young leaders, have is that there are many double standards with regards to security and police on Stellenbosch campus and around town,” Waltham said.

Kamva Somdyala, a communications officer for the students’ representative council, said they had been in talks with the university regarding upgrading its security.

“However, it’s very difficult because we are uncertain of the jurisdiction of the security,” Somdyala said.

Stellenbosch mayor Gesie van Deventer said Stellenbosch municipality, as a local municipality, was not allowed to have city police and instead “only a law enforcement section with a mandate to police municipal by-laws”.

One of the students at the Irene hostel – where Cornelius stayed – who wanted to remain anonymous, said that they were scared to walk outside at night.

“There have been a couple of muggings in the area,” she said.

According to the charge sheet, Cornelius was also raped before she was stabbed and strangled. Her body was found at 8.30am on Saturday.

Cornelius and Marsh were hijacked on Friday, when they were approached by the accused in Bird Street, Stellenbosch.

Marsh was locked in the boot of the car before the VW Golf was driven to Kraaifontein. He escaped with head injuries and was later taken to a hospital.

Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi said: “We will leave no stone unturned to defeat the madness and scourge against young women, girls and children.”