Wits increases security following attacks

Johannesburg - The University of Witwatersrand has beefed up its security measures following reports of muggings and crime in the vicinity of the institution.

"It has come to our attention that many students are being mugged in areas surrounding our campuses and external residences, particularly for their smartphones and mobile devices," Wits spokesperson Fana Sibanyoni said on Friday.

There have been reports of laptops, cellphones and valuables being stolen from libraries, offices and other common areas.

Sibanyoni said security had been increased along the perimeters of all campuses and external residences. The university's protection services had also been increased within and on the perimeter of the campuses.

Sibanyoni said additional armed patrols had also been deployed to hot spots on the perimeters of the campuses, including on Jan Smuts Avenue, outside the Wits Junction residence complex, and at selected bus stops.

After hours tests

A paid bus service for students to key bus stops, taxi ranks and transport hubs was being explored.

"However, there are several regulatory hurdles that we are working through with the city and other stakeholders, which need to be in place before any such services can be implemented," Sibanyoni said.

The Wits SRC said they had made a submission to management that students should not write tests after hours, saying that it posed a serious threat to their lives.

"We will also be engaging with the security cluster in the metro to ensure that there are more security and police presence in Braamfontein and Parktown," SRC secretary David Manabile said.

Manabile said students should be able to walk safely, without any fear of being mugged or abducted.

The men's residences had also offered to accompany students studying at night to their various off-campus residences.

The university has urged all students to be vigilant, to walk in groups in well-lit areas and to refrain from using cellphones and other mobile devices in public.