Cape Town - Police have released a photograph of a suspect they believe is linked to the recent attacks on women near Rhodes Memorial. At least four cases of rape or sexual assault in the area have been reported over the past four months.
UCT has indicated that three of the victims are students at the university.
Police on Thursday urged anyone who knows the whereabouts of Patrick Hlomane, 44, who is also known as Mthunzi Makhamba, or anyone who can assist police in tracing him, to call Captain Ruan Brummer on 074 861 6691 or Crime Stop on 0860 010 111.
A warrant for his arrest has been issued on charges of rape and robbery.
“On November 19 the suspect (allegedly) attacked a 23-year-old female victim at the bottom of Rhodes Memorial and (allegedly) raped her, whereafter he fled with her personal belongings.
“The possibility that the same suspect could be linked to similar cases in the same area is also being investigated,” said police spokesman Andre Traut. He said information provided would be treated in confidence.
At the end of last month, UCT indicated that there had been three attacks since December 11.
The fourth attack happened on February 4 when a woman was sexually assaulted while walking on the mountain towards Rhodes Memorial.
UCT spokeswoman Patricia Lucas said no further incidents in the vicinity of Rhodes Memorial had been reported.
“UCT security put an additional security guard on the pedestrian bridge crossing the M3, which served as the main link that people were using to access the area in which the incidents happened.
“UCT security guards have distributed flyers to students to warn them about the incidents that have taken place.
“UCT security is also giving special attention to the mountain perimeters of the campus in its patrols.”
She said the university appreciated every effort by police to apprehend the perpetrator.
“UCT has communicated to students and staff members about the importance of not walking alone and using caution when leaving the campus to enter the area around Rhodes Memorial.
“On February 22 the Student Representative Council kicked off a student-led campaign called ‘There is No Excuse’, against sexual violence, harassment and rape, and UCT will continue to engage with students on this important message.”
Meanwhile, in a communication to the university community earlier this week, the chairman of a UCT special executive task team, Francis Petersen, urged continued vigilance in the wake of two serious crimes reported last Friday.
“At 11.30 on that day a member of the UCT community was riding his bicycle on the M3 near Newlands when he was stopped and stabbed by an unknown assailant, who then proceeded to steal the bicycle.
“That night, at 8.50pm, an armed robbery took place in a shop on the ground floor of the Obz Square residence on Main Road, Observatory. Three armed suspects threatened the shop owner as well as two campus protection services officers and a student with a firearm and robbed them of cash, cellphones, a wrist watch and a two-way radio.
“Both cases were reported to (police). Eight suspects involved in crimes, especially violent ones that have occurred in the area surrounding UCT, were arrested by the (police) over the weekend.”