UCT warns students after third attack in Rhodes Memorial area

The Rhodes Memorial on Devil's Peak

The Rhodes Memorial on Devil’s Peak

Cape Town – The University of Cape Town has warned students to be vigilant following two rapes and an attempted rape near the campus, in the vicinity of Rhodes Memorial.

Executive communications director at UCT, Gerda Kruger, sent out a letter to the campus community on Tuesday alerting them to the latest incident which occurred in broad daylight.

“Following our communication over the weekend highlighting deeply concerning incidents of crime around the Rhodes Memorial area, we are disturbed to inform you that another incident occurred on Monday afternoon.”

A woman was alleged to have been assaulted by an unknown person, who also attempted to rape her, on Rhodes Avenue near Mosterts Mill, Kruger said.

“…[She] was assisted by members of the SAPS and CPS (campus security) after being found injured on Rhodes Avenue.” She reportedly suffered a broken jaw.

She was not a student of the university or a staff member, Kruger continued, but the university expressed its concern that the perpetrator may be serially targeting individuals in the area.

“A joint operation was conducted on Monday afternoon by the SAPS, SANParks and CPS. It is our understanding that three people have been detained for questioning.”

Kruger said on Saturday that there were similarities in the modus operandi involved in the attacks, and although it was too early to confirm, it suggested the same perpetrator could be responsible.

“It’s deeply concerning that yesterday’s incident brings to three the number of attacks on women in the Rhodes Memorial area,” Kruger added.

The other attacks took place on December 11 and January 11 (originally reported as January 19), with the second victim having reported being raped near the Rhodes Memorial restaurant.

The man was described by the university as well-spoken, in his mid-20s and slender in build.

He had been seen wearing a hoodie and black pants, and appears to have a good knowledge of the area.

Western Cape police confirmed the latest incident was reported to the Rondebosch police station on Monday.

“On 25 January, 2016 at about 14:45, a female complainant was hiking along the path between the M3 and Rhodes Memorial,” Constable Noloyiso Rwexana told News24.

“The suspect threatened the victim with a knife before he assaulted and robbed her.”

No arrests have been made, and a case of robbery is being investigated.

The university also listed a safety and security checklist, with phone numbers, that can be seen here. — AFP

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