29 August 2016
Dear colleagues and students,
I am writing to inform you that nine students were robbed at gunpoint on Upper Campus at the University of Cape Town on Saturday, 27 August 2016, at about 22:45. While we are thankful that nobody was physically injured, we are deeply concerned about the incident and outraged that gunmen would target people on campus.
The students were sitting on the grass knoll above Madiba Circle when they saw a car approaching with male occupants. Two armed men left the car and demanded their possessions. The students handed over what they had and the gunmen returned to their vehicle and sped away.
A campus security officer on patrol responded to the call for assistance and escorted the students to the nearest security office to take their report. Another campus security officer reported seeing a blue Mazda 323 hatchback pass at high speed near the north entrance to Upper Campus but the officer was unable to get the licence plate number.
Officers of the Campus Protection Services (CPS) patrol all areas of campus but they cannot anticipate where attacks will take place. The students responded to the attack in the correct manner by handing over what they had to the gunmen.
UCT residence staff and the Department of Student Affairs have been assisting the students since the attack and have arranged for them to receive immediate trauma counselling and support.
CPS will open a case with the SA Police Service (SAPS) and will assist with the investigation. A CPS officer will accompany students who will give their report of the incident to the SAPS.
There have also been deeply disturbing unrelated incidents off campus. On Friday afternoon, 26 August 2016, at about 14:00 a student was walking in Claremont when she was approached by a male suspect who threatened her with a knife and robbed her of her bag. And UCT temporarily suspended its student health services in Khayelitsha for about a week after six Health Sciences students were robbed at gunpoint outside Ummangaliso Primary School in Site B, Khayelitsha, on Tuesday, 16 August 2016. Both matters have also been reported to the SAPS.
The safety of students and staff members at UCT is a top priority of the university. Read our campus safety guidelines.
We are aware that news of this incident may create anxiety for other people on campus. Please remember that free counselling is available to students via Student Wellness and to staff members via the Human Resources Department.
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