Hundreds of Nelson Mandela University students gathered in protest at the South Campus Kraal on Tuesday following the alleged rape and robbery of two students on Monday night.
The students were protesting after a 25-year-old student and her friend were violently attacked at the Second Avenue Campus in Port Elizabeth while in a computer lab.
One of them posted a desperate message on Facebook saying: “an someone please send help we are being raped 2nd avenue campus.”
Following the cry for help, social media erupted and pictures of the alleged perpetrator circulated online.
He is seen wearing an orange top, a floppy hat and gloves in what appears to be screen grabs taken from security footage. Addressing the crowd, NMU employee, Gratian Hewitt, a microbiology technician, said that he was the first respondent to the crime after he heard about it on Facebook.
Hewitt said when he arrived at the building, security at NMU were “clueless” about what had transpired and he was met by a woman who was crying hysterically.
“I rode [in] all the way from town to be the first respondent to this message because [the South African Police Service] SAPS did not respond at the time. This is the biggest crime in our country, rape and violence against women. What was most disappointing of what I saw last night was only one police van was sent out,” Hewitt said.
“The second van sent out came from Kwamagxaki, look how far that is and Humewood Police Station is right here, but they sent us one van.”
He added that it was disturbing that the incident happened next to a so-called world class facility, the NMU Business School.
“My problem is [with the] security. This thing happened next to a world class facility [which] we are boasting about. So even at a world class facility there’s no protection,” he said.
According to police, the attacker threatened the students with a pair of scissors and robbed them of their cellphones and wallets. He raped one of the students and stabbed the other with the scissors.
The terrified women were forced to carry a computer and monitor out of the building. The attacker ordered the women to pass the loot to him before he jumped the gate and fled, police said.