Students from Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University flocked to Pretoria West police station demanding that the police intensify their action following the alleged rape of a female student last Sunday.
They were joined by members of their management, staff and other students from the Tshwane University of Technology as they brought WF Nkomo Street to a halt.
They said a student was robbed, pulled into the bushes and raped by two men in Pretoria West.
The police have not convinced them that they were determined to prevent such incidents from happening again.
They told station commander Michell Toohey that they wanted more police visibility around student accommodation and more action to curb this gender-based violence that has become a common problem in the tertiary education sector.
Residency manager at Tshwane Varsity Lodge Remofilwe Poeng said it was saddening that one of their student tenants was raped in the bushes off Frans Soff Avenue, despite willingly giving the suspect her bank card and pin.
“We are very worried as students and the Pretoria West community, in particular Phillip Nel Park, given the fact that we have been alerting police about these drastically increasing incidents with no solution or intervention from the police,” she said.
They said police visibility was non-existent in the area, to a point whereby they felt like the police station only existed for the mere fact of certifying documents and signing affidavits.
The university’s vice-chancellor professor Peter Mbati said: “Last week I shared with you the pain and agony for what has happened to one of our female students who was allegedly raped at our off-campus residence over the weekend.
“It is a fact that as a university, and the country by extension, is not yet safe for our female students and staff. Gender-based violence remains one of society’s greatest challenges.
“Harrowing statistics show that a woman is murdered every three hours in South Africa, and the country has the world’s fourth highest death rate due to “interpersonal violence”.
“With this march, the university seeks to reinforce President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for all sectors of society to work together to stop gender-based violence.
“President Ramaphosa has called for an extraordinary and immediate response to the scourge of gender-based violence and femicide by all members of the society,” he said.
Station commander Toohey said: “We have received the memorandum or ofdemands and we are going to sit down, work together with the students and the concerned community to find a solution to this problem.”