Students at South Africa’s University of Limpopo protested to demand a campus liquor bar where they can buy alcoholic beverages in a safe environment.
Academic activities at the institution were temporarily suspended on Wednesday and earlier Thursday as students demanded the establishment of the retail business inside their campus.
The university is located in Turflop, an area notorious for violent crimes, and the Student Representative Committee (SRC) says the situation called for action.
SRC Secretary-General Thabiso Molepo said they were pushing authorities to create a safe environment for students.
“We’re saying we want a student bar. Our students are being stabbed left, right and centre when they go to nearby bars to drink. We’re not saying they must drink or promoting that, but we know that they are already drinking, so we want them to drink in a safe environment,” Mr Molepo told a local daily, the Sowetan.
He added they had dealt with many cases of students who were assaulted and even raped at nearby pubs and taverns.
“We deal with cases almost every Monday and something needs to change. Just last year, a student was stabbed to death. We had one that was raped and many others that were injured because these places are not safe,” he said.
The university’s spokesperson, Mr Johannes Selepe, said the ‘shocking call’ was not received well by institution's management, but there were talks with SRC to map the way forward.
“Students submitted their demands and the university is engaging with the SRC in an attempt to address their demands. The management was a bit shocked, but I think they understand because they also have seen and heard of the many cases we deal with after every weekend and it just has to stop,” Mr Selepe said.
Suggestions by students are that such a facility would only operate on weekends and would have to be monitored by security personnel. The SRC said the bar would not interfere with academic activities on campus.