Two Students Dead After Shooting At Student Residence

Devastating news came to light about the gruesome killing of students from the University of Free State at the Qwaqwa campus this week. 

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During the early hours of 22 September 2021, four students were attacked and shot at their student residence in Botjhabela Village at the Qwaqwa campus.

Two of the students suffered critical injuries and were taken to the hospital. These students are currently in a perilous state and fighting for their lives. Unfortunately, the other two students were killed on the spot. 

The Investigating Officer, Captain Boy Makuba stated that he believes that the three unknown suspects demanded money, phones and laptops from the students. Even though the students did not demonstrate any resistance, they were still gunned down.

The South African Union of Students (SAUS) offered their most sincere and heartfelt condolences, prayers and thoughts to the loved ones of the deceased students. They also wish the two students who are currently in hospital a speedy recovery. 

They hope to visit the family, students and community of Botjhabela village.

The union went on to request that the University of the Free State and Higher Health make psychological support available to students who have been left traumatised after the recent events.

The reality is that the death of these students further highlights the devastating state of student accommodation in the South African Higher Education sector, particularly off-campus or private student accommodation.

The union believes that “the lack of adequate housing in the sector, by implication, makes the department of higher education and universities co-conspirators in the senseless killing of students of this nature.”

Most universities are only able to accommodate less than 20% of students in acceptable and safe student accommodation, which leaves 80% at non-affordable accommodation and exposes them to endless criminal elements.

“The recent killing of Nosicelo at the University of Fort Hare could also be directly attributed to the abhorrent state of student accommodation within the broader Higher Education Sector,” read the statement released by the union.

The union believes that the targeting of student accommodation by criminals shows the inactive and feeble efforts of the University Protection Services and SAPS to strengthen security and police visibility in and around student accommodation. 

However, SAUS urges SAPS to bring these criminals to justice.

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