A Nelson Mandela University (NMU) student was raped and another stabbed, allegedly because she didn’t have a cellphone on her, at the Second Avenue Campus on Monday evening.

NMU spokesperson Zandile Mbabela confirmed the incident, saying: “It is indeed with great shock and sadness that we receive news of the rape and stabbing of our students.

“Information at hand is that two students were attacked in computer labs on Second Avenue Campus – one was stabbed in the back and the other raped,” said Mbabela.

“Both students received the initial medical attention, with counselling and other support mechanisms in place for the rape victim,” she said.

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Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the suspect wasn’t known to the two students and police would be investigating how the person got onto campus.

“The students were threatened with a pair of scissors. They were robbed of their cellphones and wallets. One of the students was allegedly raped in the lab.

“Thereafter, the suspect made the two students carry a computer box and monitor outside. After jumping over the gate, he ordered them to pass the equipment to him.”

One of the girls who had been attacked tried to call for help via Facebook.

In a separate post on Facebook on Monday night, which has since been shared over 1 300 times, user Ovayo Xwayi said the attack had come about because of lack of security.

“NMU needs to tighten security up, as there were two doors that were supposed to be locked that were open and it is clear that the thug used one of them. On top of tha,  no security is designated at the fashion department. It is sad that complaints are only considered when such incidents take place.

“The lady who was stabbed was attended to by the paramedics and has made her way home with relatives and the other one was rushed to hospital…” he wrote.

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Xwayi also shared images of the alleged perpetrator, showing a man wearing an orange sweater and light-coloured jeans. In one image, he appears to be buttoning up his jeans, while in the other, he can be seen leaving the computer lab, opening the door while wearing yellow latex kitchen gloves.

News of the attack has spread rapidly among the student community, who have started demonstrating at the main campus.

In a Facebook post, the university advised students and staff of the protests.

“Students and staff, the entrances to North and South Campus are currently blocked by protesting students, following the attack which took place on two female students on Second Avenue Campus last night.

“We will let you know about accessibility onto campus shortly.”

Mayor Athol Trollip condemned the attack. “My prayers and thoughts are with both of these young women, as they recover from this horrific incident,” he said in a statement.

The South African Students’ Congress also condemned the attack.

“It has become clear that the university continues not to take safety of students seriously. This, after numerous calls to management to pay close and special attention to Second Avenue Campus, as it is an isolated campus within the Summerstrand campuses and becomes an easy target for crime and violent attacks on our students,” it said.

– News24 Wire