The Economic Freedom Fighters Students Command (EFFSC) initiated a whistle-blowing campaign on Wednesday at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, in a bid to curb attacks on students, especially female students on campus.
The newly-found EFFSC branch, which was launched last month, said that it was gravely concerned about the current threats and attacks directed at women nationally.
As a result, the student command distributed whistles to hundreds of students, arming them so that they can blow them to alert nearby people when they fall under threat.
EFFSC secretary general at Rhodes, Khethobole Sekgota, said they had identified students safety as their first priority after launching their branch.
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“We have learnt that there are signs of inhumane activities emerging within and around campus. The safety and freedom of students is a matter of paramount importance and should be addressed with the urgency and attention it deserves,” Sekgota said.
“A continuous whistle sound will be considered as a call for urgent help. The Campus Protection Unit (CPU) has been advised to urgently attend to whistle sounds. We urged students not to misuse these whistles as that may nullify the intended purpose.”
Scores of students lined up on Wednesday afternoon to collect their whistles until the EFFSC branch leadership ran out of them.
Branch chairperson Zweli Hlatshwayo said the idea came about during a brainstorming session when their member suggested the idea, saying they used the same method in the township where he resides.
“One of our fighters said everyone is a police in the township and the community knows that a whistle is a sign of distress and should respond accordingly. There have been lots of reports of muggings and attacks on students in and around the campus,” Hlatshwayo said.
“Close to 500 students responded to our call today, but unfortunately we could only hand out that much and we’ve taken a list of those still waiting. As a new students formation, we had to put political differences with other formations aside and work for the benefit of all students.”
Hlatshwayo said the EFFSC were hoping to meet the Vice Chancellor on Thursday after successfully meeting with the CPU, the director of student affairs, and the deputy president of the Students Representative Council (SRC), who all pledged support to the initiative.
“Students are quite happy that now they have a quick tool to use in time of distress. Depending on the funds we can raise, we are hoping to reach at least 1,500 students soon,” Hlatswayo said.
– African News Agency (ANA)