23 January 2016
Dear colleagues and students
It is with outrage and regret that we inform University of Cape Town staff and particularly students of incidents of a most serious criminal nature that have recently occurred off campus in the vicinity of Rhodes Memorial. We urge all to avoid the area, particularly after dark.
A female student has reported that she was raped off campus near the Rhodes Memorial restaurant on Tuesday 19 January 2016 by an unidentified man.
It is deeply disturbing that this incident follows a similar incident on 11 December 2015 when another female student reported that she was attacked and raped by an unidentified man when she walked from Rhodes Memorial towards UCT. This incident was reported to the UCT campus community at the time.
We are in contact with both the students to support them and to offer medical, counseling and other forms of assistance, and we will continue to strive to support the students for as long as is needed.
The South African Police Services (SAPS) are investigating both cases. These incidents have some similarities in terms of the modus operandi involved in the attacks. While it is too early to say at this stage, it may be possible that the same perpetrator is responsible.
Of additional concern is that a male student was held at gunpoint and robbed of his car on 15 January 2016 near the M3 highway below Rhodes Memorial. In this case the abandoned vehicle was recovered some hours later and the suspects were arrested. The student was not physically harmed.
In light of these incidents, we urge everyone to avoid the Rhodes Memorial area, especially after dark – in particular the path used as a short cut that goes through the bushes.
If you notice any suspicious activity on campus, please alert the security office immediately. If you need assistance, please call Campus Protection Services on 021 650 2222/3 (24 hours). We recommend you store this number on speed dial on your phone.
Please also review and follow the safety and security checklist on the UCT website.
We are aware that this communication may cause some people additional anxiety or personal trauma. If you feel you need support of any kind please make contact with the Human Resources Department if you are a staff member, or the Department of Student Affairs if you are a student, so that the necessary guidance, assistance and if need be, counseling can be arranged to support you.
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