THE South African Union of Students (SAUS) has condemned the gruesome killing of two students from the University of the Free Sate, Qwaqwa campus.
According to the police, a group of students from the Qwaqwa Campus residing off campus were involved in a “senseless attack” in Phuthaditjhaba, which resulted in the death of one student, and two others in a critical condition in hospital.
SAUS national spokesperson Asive Dlanjwa said the death of these students further highlights the devastating state of student accommodation in the South African Higher Education sector, particularly off-campus or private student accommodation.
“In fact, the lack of adequate housing in the sector, by implication, makes the department of higher education and universities co-conspirators in the senseless killing of students of this nature,” said Dlanjwa.
“In the early hours of today, 22 September 2021, four (4) students were attacked and shot at their student residence in Botjhabela Village, Qwaqwa. Whilst two of the students suffered critical injuries and have since been taken to hospital where they’re reported to be in a perilous state, fighting for their lives, regrettably two (2) of the students were fatally killed on the spot.”
Dlanjwa added: “We have spoken to the investigating officer, Captain Boy Makubu whohas made us to believe that the robbers came in demanding money, laptops and phones, to which the students did not demonstrate any resistance when they were mercilessly gunned down by three unknown suspects.”
“We wish to offer our most sincere and heartfelt condolences, prayers and thoughts to the family, friends and fellow students of the deceased students. We further would like to wish the two students who are currently in hospital, fighting for their lives, a speedy recovery.”
Dlanjwa said the union will be visiting the family, fellow students and the community of Botjhabela village this weekend.
“We would also like to make a call to the University of the Free State and Higher Health to make available psychological support to the students who have been left traumatised and distraught by these upsetting events,” said Dlanjwa.
Dlanjwa said on average, universities have only been able to accommodate less than 20% of students in safe and acceptable student accommodation, ‘leaving around 80% at to non-affordable and atrocious living conditions and exposing them to interminable criminal elements’.
The recent killing of Nosicelo at the University of Fort Hare could also be directly attributed to the abhorrent state of student accommodation within the broader Higher Education Sector, SAUS added.
“The targeting of student accommodation by criminals also speaks to the inactive and feeble efforts of the South African Police Services and University Protection Services to bolster security and police visibility in and around student accommodation,” said Dlanjwa.
“We must however, call on the SAPS, to rest at nothing in bringing those who have waged an attack on the student community, to swift justice.”
- * Inside Politics