Many students were among the thousands protesting outside Parliament on Thursday. Photo: Armand Hough / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town  – A group of young women, which includes UCT students, have launched a fundraising campaign for pepper spray that will be distributed to girls at the university for protection.

The initiative comes amid a series of femicide and gender-based cases of violence, including the rape and murder of UCT first-year student Uyinene Mrwetyana.

The 19-year-old was killed on August 24 in the Clareinch Post Office in Claremont.

The murder made many women fearful, especially students, and they have now demanded that safety on campus and in residences be reviewed.

UCT law postgraduate student Samantha Perkins, one of the five initiators of the fundraiser, said the drive had so far raised R15 000.

“Nene’s death and that of other girls, including Jesse Hess, have given rise to fear regarding the safety of females on campus and female residences, including the Graça Machel.We want women to defend themselves in these troubling times,” said Perkins.

The 22-year-old said their initial target was R30 000 but hoped for more to distribute at least 300 units.

“It is our hope that this will at least make a small difference to the safety of women in the interim before the government decides to initiate serious efforts to solve this deep structural issue within our society. 

"We ask the public to stand with us by supporting the initiative,” said Perkins.

Addressing disgruntled students on Tuesday, UCT vice-chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng said the university intended to improve its security systems and would communicate plans to the student body in due course.

To donate towards the drive visit https://t.co/unHhCoYfhI?amp=1