Angry marchers protest about rape crisis on campus

FED UP: Students vent their fury about the rape situation at NMMU Picture: EUGENE COETZEE
FED UP: Students vent their fury about the rape situation at NMMU
Picture: EUGENE COETZEE

More than 100 angry NMMU students took their fight against rape to the streets as they marched from the south to north campus yesterday.

The march followed the rape of two students last week.

Some of the marchers removed their tops.

The angry students also called for the resignation of NMMU’s head of protection services, Derek Huebsch, before Friday.

They said should Huebsch not resign they would not return to class even if mediation processes between the university and students protesting over fees were successful.

Among their demands, students want rape cases to be prioritised, their safety on and off campus guaranteed, and improved relationships between students and the university’s communications department.

Addressing the crowd at the Madiba Shirt statue on the south campus, student march leader Nobathembu Koko, 23, said the media had not been invited and no hype was created around the march on social media as it would be a public relations exercise and a campaign.

“Whereas rape is not a once-off campaign,” she said.

The policies the university had in place did not speak to the needs of students.

The marching students were accompanied by some NMMU staff members and a handful of male counterparts.

The group walked along University Way singing struggle songs, carrying placards which read “When will you get it?”, “NO means No”, “Don’t tell me how to dress, tell them not to rape” and “My short skirt is not an invitation to rape”, among others.

On reaching the admission block on the north campus, the group sat down in silence before demanding to see management.

University spokeswoman Debbie Derry responded to the students, saying she understood their hurt as a woman and a mother.

ý Rhodes University yesterday turned into a war zone with brutal clashes between police and students following a university announcement of extraordinary security measures it intended implementing during exams.

Shots rang out, stun grenades exploded and a thick pall of teargas hung over the campus.

Rocks, broken bottles and shotgun shells littered the university’s pavements and streets.

Several people were arrested and injured during the clashes.

Rhodes journalism lecturer Brian Garman was shot in the arm while urging students into the department building.

The security measures that sparked yesterday’s clashes included body searches, locking students down for the duration of the exam and an insistence students report to venues an hour early to undergo security checks.

  • In East London, 10 University of Fort Hare students – arrested after disrupting lectures at the East London campus on Monday – appeared in the East London Magistrate’s court yesterday.

The students, including two SRC members, are facing charges of intimidation and also a violation of a court interdict.

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