Ms Arinaho Nelushi says that keeping quiet about attacks gives the attackers more power.
Students from the University of Venda and some other tenants in the residences around the university are living in fear, following a spate of mugging incidents, break-ins and robberies.
This concern was brought to the attention of Limpopo Mirror by affected students and tenants, who feared for their lives after being robbed in their rooms last week.
A 33-year-old mother of one, who declined to be named, wept uncontrollably when she explained how she was robbed of her hard-earned cash, toiletries, ID card, mobile phones and other personal items. “It was around 02:00 when the door of my room was kicked open and a man stormed it,” she said. “My sister and I and two minors were in the room. We were so terrified. When we looked closely, his accomplice was standing at the door. They demanded money.”
The intruders robbed the lady of her handbag and mobile phones. When they kicked her door open, other men were robbing another tenant in the next room. “They took his laptop and more valuable items,” she said. “We are worried about our safety and privacy. Our children are still shocked and traumatised, just like us.”
A 28-year-old Univen student, Ms Fulufhelo Makhubele, said that she had witnessed the incident from the window of her room. “I saw the men, and when one of them saw that I was watching them, they quickly rushed off, carrying a bag,” she said, crying. “This is not the first incident. Many attacks are happening in the university’s vicinity where criminals target our residences.”
Another Univen student, Arinaho Nelushi (20), said: “It’s happening every week. The victims just keep quiet. By keeping quiet, it’s like we are giving more strength to attackers. We have formed a street patrol as a way of fighting burglaries and robberies.”
Another student who also declined to be named, said that one night she was walking to the university with her friend. They were attacked, but she managed to run for her life. “My friend was not as lucky as me,” she said and tears filled her eyes. “She was raped...”
The affected tenants had opened cases with the Thohoyandou police. However, according to tenants, the Thohoyandou police allegedly said they did not have enough vehicles to patrol the area at night.
Limpopo police’s spokesperson Col Moatshe Ngoepe denied the contention that not enough patrol vehicles were available. “We have got enough vehicles in that policing area,” he said. “If affected residents are not getting the expected help from the police, they must approach the cluster commander, who might see what to do, so that more cars are allocated to the affected part of the area.”
The University of Venda’s spokesperson, Mr Takalani Dzaga, said that the university was aware of the incidents. “We have accredited residencies and unaccredited ones,” he said explaining that the unaccredited ones were not as safe as the accredited ones. “As a university, we urge students to use accredited residencies. To verify accreditation, students are welcome to visit student affairs offices. However, we condemn all acts of violence.”
Date:20 November 2017 - By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho
Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.