VUT EMPOWERS STUDENTS WITH SAFETY AWARENESS TIPS
By: Qhawekazi Memani and Tebello Theledi – 14 August 2023
On 11 August 2023, the Vaal University of Technology (VUT’s) Student Representative Council (SRC) organized a Safety and Security Awareness Campaign for students at the VUT Desmond Tutu Hall.
This event saw the departments of Student Life and Governance, Residence Living and Learning and Victim Empowerment Centre, Occupational Health and Safety, Protection Services and the South African Police Service come together to encourage safety amongst VUT students.
Due to incidents of robberies and attempted assaults targeting students, the event aimed at promoting safety awareness not only within the University premises but also in the surrounding areas. The event also served as a platform to share invaluable safety tips with attendees, enabling them to make informed decisions regarding their well-being.
In his welcoming address, the SRC President Maanda Masendi stressed that despite the presence of the on-campus and residence-based security company, Phiri, students still face safety challenges. He urged the university’s management to play a more active role in ensuring the safety of students both on campus and in residences. He emphasized the need for proactive measures, encouraging all stakeholders to collectively take responsibility for student safety.
During the event, the Protection Services Department engaged the students in discussions about their personal responsibility for ensuring their own safety. The topics covered included the process of opening a case, the investigation procedure, and the reporting of cases. Additionally, he provided practical safety tips to the students.
In a notable show of support, Captain (Capt.) Bertie van der Rust from the South African Police Services (SAPS) was present. He delivered a poignant message: “The foundation of crime prevention lies with each individual.” Capt. van der Rust further reiterated that while the police have a crucial role in maintaining visibility and security in and around the VUT area, every individual’s commitment to proactive safety measures is equally important.
In closing, the SRC Legal, Policy and Constitutional Affairs Officer, Tshepang Mabula committed to the students that part of the principles of the SRC is to build a dynamic relationship between students and the communities in Vanderbijlpark and fight against crime more especially in areas where VUT students reside.
This event not only shed light on existing safety challenges but also illuminated the way forward through collective action and individual responsibility.