STUDENTS’ LIVES UNDER THREAT
By: Lizeka Maduna
Students from the Durban University of Technology (DUT) are disgusted by the filth and high crime rate at one of the residences provided by the university.
Students are concerned about the living conditions at the City Residence situated on the heart of themarket. Despite the Metro Police Station being located next to the residence, students are still subjected to crime from the drug usersloitering in the market.
These students say that the area around their residence is in a terrifying condition and is devastating for students to live in.
A second year student, Vivian Msweli, who lives at the residence said that students are living in fear for their health and security.
“This place is surrounded by a dirty building which is used as a dumpsite and a shelter for street kids. Apart from the filthy environment, this area is known for crime and our safety is not guaranteed because security is not tight,” said Msweli.
She further said that last year students were robbed of their valuables inside the residence by robbers who gained access while securities were asleep and she is afraid that it might happen again.
Another student, Nkosinathi Malinga, said that the noise of the taxis on Anton Lembede Street (former West Street) are too loud and disrupt the students when they are studying.
“This residence is not suitable for students, there is too much noise from the surrounding taxi ranks and taverns,” said Malinga.
However, the senior director of corporate affairs at DUT, Alan Khan told Iziko news that it is not the management’s intention to put students’ lives at risk.
“Sometimes we are working under pressure of the SRC demands,” highlighted Khan. “ When they protest and become violent we have to meet their demands and it is a process involving more than one part, the management, department of housing and the SRC work together,” said Khan
Students say the security company hired to assure students safety at the residence is not doing their job because students are still becoming victims of muggings around the residence. They say that the security guards are either nowhere to be found or when they are around the entrance, they do not check who comes in and out of the residence.
The director of Vela Tech security hired to guard the City Residence, Thokozani Vumase said that students’ safety is essential and that the company is doing all possible means to protect them.
“This place was very dangerous when the residence was opened last year,” said Vumase. He added that even this year measures are being taken to protect the students.
Director of student housing, Dr Theophilus Nhassengo told Iziko news that the department has no power in terms of security. “I don’t believe they (students) can escape that scrutiny because almost all our residences are located in such environments, we have HertineCourt at Albert Park and many others,” Dr Nhassengo pointed out.
He further stated that all areas surrounding residences with high crime rate are the responsibility of the municipality which has already started the cleaning process around the market area.