By Karabo Rammutla
After a female student was raped on the Tshwane North College campus last week, over 100 outraged students took to the streets to protest on Monday.
But their impassioned demonstrations soon got out of hand and grew violent. Some students turned the protest into a looting spree, and are accused of attacking a Daily Sun journalist reporting on the scene.
When the protesters first gathered, they were singing peacefully outside the gates of the campus.
The outraged students were demanding for measures to be introduced to make the campus safer after a man – who was not a student – was alleged to have sneaked onto campus last Thursday and raped a female student. No suspect has been arrested for this attack.
However, as soon as a large police contingent arrived at Monday’s protest, tensions began to rise.
Some protesters began throwing rocks on the road while others began to intimidate and threaten the local vendors, demanding free food.
Then the troubles escalated further.
Some of the protesters blocked off and barricaded the street leading to the campus in Soshanguve.
When Daily Sun journalist Kgalalelo Tlhoaele filmed the situation on her phone, a group of students surrounded her. They accused her of trying to expose them and get them arrested.
She deleted the videos after being insulted and threatened that her phone would be taken. After the ordeal, she told Scrolla.Africa that although she was shaken, journalists should not become news.
“I just hope our communities realise how important journalists are to a democratic society like ours.”
Mmule Sejosengwe, a vendor, said the students were just hooligans.
“What do vendors like myself have to do with the rape of the student? Why target us, who cannot arrest the perpetrator or counsel the student? Those kids are hooligans and criminals,” she said.
She said if it hadn’t been for the swift response of the police, she would have lost her stock.
“Some took meat out of the pots, and we would have lost more if it wasn’t for the police who acted quickly.”
Gauteng police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel Mavela Masondo, said they are monitoring the situation. He said no arrests were made.
The Department of Higher Education and Training did not respond to Scrolla.Africa’s requests for comment.
Pictured above: Heavy police presence at TNC Soshanguve campus as students protest
Picture source: Karabo Rammutla