CPUT gives out free pepper sprays as fear mounts over gender-based violence

Cape Town – Gender-based violence has resulted in the distribution of free pepper sprays for female students at tertiary institutions. 

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) SRC has already handed 300 canisters of pepper sprays to female students at District Six campus and will distribute to their other campuses on Wednesday and Thursday.

This comes after the suspension of all academic activities last month where CPUT had a meeting discussing programmes focusing on GBV. The meeting also acknowledged the first-year Nursing Sciences student who was abducted and raped after finishing her shift. 

Magnum Boots Africa donated pepper sprays to the CPUT SRC. 

“It was about 2-3 weeks ago when news of students and women being abused and rape in our country. Not a lot of people have the power to change anything and that touched a nerve. I approached my directors and asked them how about we do something about this,” said Magnum Boots Africa marketing coordinator, Casey Crow.

“Our company is in the line of security, military and police services because we provide boots for them. So how about we create pepper sprays to help out women? We created about 2500 units,” said Crow.

Crow said they have delivered sprays various campuses including Cape Peninsula University of Technology, University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University as well as the #IWillNotBeNext movement. 

CPUT student Thembelihle Mde said there is a lot that would make her feel better but getting a can of pepper spray is the first step towards safety. 

“I would love to see securities all around campus. Just last week Thursday, there was a student robbed at the engineering building. She had pepper spray but she was still defenceless because it was two guys,” said Mde.

cwThembelihleMde - CPUT gives out free pepper sprays as fear mounts over gender-based violence
Thembelihle with her can of pepper spray. Picture: Lukhanyo Mtuta/Weekend Argus

Another student Aviwe Zono said she feels that there should be self-defence classes. She said receiving pepper spray does help her but she remains fearful.

Deputy chairperson of local SRC District Six campus Zandile Mguzulo said she is relieved because the security system at CPUT is weak.

“We as the SRC take it upon ourselves to educate our female students on how to use these. Doing a video and providing education on how to use this something we’ll do,” said Mguzulo.

CPUT spokesperson Lauren Kansley said the institution has provided “2 patrol vehicles and CCTV cameras at the high risk campus.”

Weekend Argus

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