Female students at the Nkangala TVET College in Waterval Boven, Mpumalanga, have become the target of rapists. It is alleged that more than 20 off-campus students have been raped since last January.

Students at the college in Waterval Boven are living in fear following the spate of rapes of female students. One of the survivors says she was not only raped but some of her belongings were also stolen taken by the criminals. She says the incident happened in January last year.

“They broke the door, turned off the light and pointed me with a gun. They demanded money. I said to them I don’t have money. They said NSFAS has paid us and then I informed them that I do not get NSFAS money. They searched the room before instructing me to cover my face with the blanket. They then began raping me.”

Another survivor claims she was on her way home when she was raped late last year. She was walking in the company of her fellow male student, after returning from the college, when the incident occurred.

“He demanded that we give him money and we said we don’t have money. He said we must run away and he is giving us a few seconds. When we tried to run away he grabbed me and whispered in my ear that he wants to rape me. He took me to the bushes and indeed raped me.”

Chairperson for the Students Representative Council, Sipho Mashaba, has blamed the management of the college and the police for doing very little to deal with the increasing rape incidents.

“We have students who are not receiving NSFAS, now they are forced to live in shacks around the location and paying R350 rent so that they can at least sleep. While we have lecturers residing in our campus where there is security.”

Mashaba says they want the houses that are currently occupied by their lecturers on campus to be converted into student accommodation.

But Campus Manager, Peter Ledwaba, says given the state of the houses, they cannot be used as student residences. Ledwaba also dismissed allegations that they do not give support to the rape victims.

“I support them at the police station and to the psychologist to counselling. We give them support and we have evidence. The problem they are saying lecturers who are staying at the campus must go out and we must place students who are being raped. If you can go to those rooms now, you can see that those rooms are not 100% and you cannot just take the students and place them.  Our lecturers are occupying those rooms at their own risk.”

Mpumalanga Police Spokesperson, Leonard Hlathi, has confirmed that they are investigating several cases of rape reported by students on the campus. He says they recently arrested one of the suspects who has been charged with six counts of rape.

Hlathi says the suspect will appear in court next Wednesday.