POLICE have promised greater protection for Botho University students following a spate of attacks on them by unknown criminals in the area stretching from the university’s Maseru Mall campus to the Katlehong residential suburb.
This was said by Police Sub Inspector Lefu Thaela. He said this at a belated ceremony to welcome first year students to the institution. The ceremony was held at the Christian Revival Church (CRC) in Katlehong on Friday.
Speaking at the ceremony, Sub Inspector Thaela said the police were aware that Botho students had been victims of attacks in the area stretching from the university campus at Maseru Mall to the nearby Katlehong residential suburb.
He promised greater protection for the students and also urged them to travel in groups to deter would-be assailants.
“We are mandated to look after belongings and protect human life,” Sub Inspector Thaela said.
“We are aware that you have been victims of attacks recently around the circle that comes into Katlehong from Maseru Mall. It is our duty to protect you but at the same time the numbers of police officers are low.
“We are less than 5000 and yet we have to regulate about two million people, so a police officer cannot be everywhere. We therefore encourage you to move in groups when you leave school at night. Please walk in groups so that you can protect yourselves from thieves.
“Even at home, please choose locations that are secure. Places where no one will easily enter, where there are burglar bars and make your landlord and neighbours aware of your movements,” Sub Inspector Thaela said.
Some of the stakeholders were in attendance were included the Deputy Pro Vice Chancellor (DPVC) Lucky Moahi (responsible for Internationalisation and Communications), DPVC Peter Mbati (responsible for Academic and Quality), Ted Msipa (motivational speaker), National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) deputy director, Thabo Ntoi, Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) officer, Sekhotseng Molapo (Tertiary Department), Moshe Ramakholoane (SRC president), Lefu Thaela (Police Sub Inspector), former Minister Mohlabi Tsekoa (advisory council member), and Dr Abhishek Ranjan (Dean).
Several stakeholders including the university management, Ministry of Education and Training officials, student representative council members, university staff and parents of the students graced the event.
The ceremony’s programme director, Mankhoele Masisi-Thakhisi, who is also the university’s Head of Business Development and External Relations oversaw proceedings.
Ms Masisi-Thakhisi revealed that the university’s new academic year commenced on 22 July 2019 and the welcome ceremony was held much later to allow students and parents time to acclimatise and gain an understanding of the university’s operations.
“It was highly deliberate that after you have settled and when you have seen the teething problems and parents have had an understanding of what students may be going through, we come and have a conversation like this,” Ms Masisi-Thakhisi said.
Professor Mbati said that tertiary students were getting younger compared to those of his generation. He asked parents and guardians to monitor their children and constantly check on their academic performance.
Ms Molapo echoed Professor Mbati’s sentiments, saying parents had to be fully involved in the lives of their children to help instil moral values.
She also said students needed to behave responsibly especially with regard to HIV/AIDS which had ravaged the country.
“I know that you are either infected or affected by HIV and AIDS. Please take care of yourselves. Please remember what brought you here (to Botho University) and focus on that,” Ms Molapo said.
Mr Msipa emphasised the importance of having the right attitude for the students to succeed in life.
“Whatever you become is the product of what you think,” Mr Msipa said.
The SRC president, Moshe Ramakholoane, urged students to balance their studies with extramural activities including sport to become well-rounded professionals.
In all, there are 456 first year students and 409 of these are sponsored by the NMDS.