Brutal attack on Cape academic

By Warda Meyer Time of article published Sep 26, 2010

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A senior staff member at Stellenbosch University has survived a savage knife attack while on her regular early morning walk near Rosmead Avenue, Kenilworth.

Gubela Mji, 52, head of the university’s Centre for Rehabilitation Studies in the Health Faculty, was found sitting barefoot in a pool of blood near the Rosmead Spar, with stab wounds to her head and face.

Her shoes and socks had been stolen.

Her daughter, Vuyo, 26, said she had heard her mother leave the house in Esher Road shortly after 5.30am on Monday. She was later woken up by paramedics.

“I was shocked when I went to the door to find that it was the ambulance services outside wanting information about my mother. They just told me that my mother had been assaulted and that she could not remember what had happened.”

Vuyo said she followed the ambulance as it took her mother to Vincent Pallotti Hospital in Pinelands.

“I could not believe what was happening. My mother was bleeding profusely and could barely speak.”

Vuyo said her mother had six shallow stab wounds to her head and face, and a big gash on her lips for which she needed plastic surgery. She also had memory loss.

Vuyo said a security guard at the Rosmead Spar found her mother and called an ambulance.

The guard tried to get staff from a national private health care chain, which has offices nearby, to assist her mother but they refused, believing that she was a vagrant, she said.

“The only things that were missing were her socks and shoes and our house keys. We immediately changed the locks,” said Vuyo.

The security guard, Lucky Selepe, said he was working night shift and was doing his final rounds when he spotted a woman sitting on the pavement in front of the Kenilworth Medicross centre.

“She was just sitting there in a pool of blood. When I went closer I could see she was badly injured.”

He assumed she was a homeless person as she was barefoot and covered in blood. “I asked her several times if she was drunk because she was vomiting blood and was confused. She told me she did not drink but could not remember what had happened. At first I did not believe her but she kept on saying I must get an ambulance.”

He approached the offices of a nearby private ambulance service, but they did not respond.

“I waited, tried again and finally they answered. I told them about the badly injured woman but they said they could not do that. It shocked me that they did not come down to help and they told me to call the 107 emergency number instead.”

Selepe said he called the ambulance services, which soon arrived and took Mji away. “I did not even see where she came from or what happened but I am glad she will be better. She lost a lot of blood and I could see she was very weak.”

Mohamed Shaikh, senior director communication and liaison at Stellenbosch University, said the attack highlighted that urgent, decisive action had to be taken against crime that was spiralling out of control.

“University management has taken heart from the fact that Ms Mji is recovering well in hospital, and wishes her a speedy and complete recovery.”

Claremont police spokeswoman Angie Latchman confirmed the attack but said police had little information to go on.

“The victim has not been able to give a full statement and we are waiting for her to recover.”

Latchman said the police urged anyone with information to contact Detective Constable Mkhuseli Ngqiyana at Claremont police station on 021 657 2240 /2252.

Last May Ian Cowburn, 68, was stabbed to death while on an early morning run on the corner of Rosmead Avenue and Bray Road in Kenilworth. - Weekend Argus

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