A security issue at South Point buildings has parents and students worried.
South Point, a private company providing accommodation for students of universities and colleges in Johannesburg, currently faces a strike for higher wages by their security officers.
The security guards man the entrances of the buildings where these students live and control who may access the buildings.
The strike started on 11 September when the security guards abandoned their duties, leaving the buildings unsafe and unsecure.
During the evening of 11 September a group of people vandalised and damaged one of South Point’s buildings in Braamfontein, causing a panic among some of the students staying there and their parents.
A University of Johannesburg student, Loyiso Dlamini, described the scene she witnessed on the night of the vandalism and property damage.
“It was around 11pm when I was returning to my room and I heard glass shattering. I then went downstairs to see what was happening and all I could see were people in red shirts with stones, rocks and bricks. I immediately called my mother and told her what was happening.”
She explained that although the violence terrified her, she was more afraid of the possibility of people being able to enter the buildings as they please.
“With no security, people can walk in and out, stealing, assaulting, and potentially even sexually assaulting others. Braamfontein is already an unsafe place and once criminals realise there’s nothing stopping them, they will have a free for all.”
Proving Loyiso’s point about this creating a security threat, a man told the journalist working on this story that he could enter the building. He was unaware that he was speaking to a journalist and just said, “Don’t be scared just go in and see whoever you want to see.”
Loyiso’s mother, Bernice, contacted South Point to ask them what their contingency plan was to keep students safe and she wasn’t content with their answer.
According to Bernice South Point told her, ‘they’re trying to find a solution and sorry for the inconvenience’, a response that she believed lack care and urgency.
She said that she worries about all the potential risks that this poses to her daughter and the children of others.
Luckily Loyiso can go back home to Centurion, which she has, to avoid any danger but she and her mother worry about those who can’t just go home because they live further away.
South Point’s offices in Braamfontein have been closed to the public since the protest erupted. Some stores stationed in their buildings have suspended their business operations.
The Northcliff Melville Times still await comment from South Point on the matter.
This is a developing story and updates will be made as they become available.