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The implementation of a comprehensive Safety and Security plan has been underway across all seven campuses for the past two years. In this time, a number of advances have been made around infrastructure, supporting equipment and stakeholder engagement in beating the scourge of crime.

This work is continuing and will see further improvements towards creating a safer work and study environment on campus. It also includes that of seeking solutions with our partners in safeguarding students who live off campus and travel to campus.

However, the University acknowledges that much work lies ahead given the on-campus mugging of a staff member and the various concerns raised by both staff and especially students this week.

It has noted particular concerns around:

  • Transport safety issues
  • Finding alternative solutions to after-hour tests, and
  • Present additional security measures

The University commits to seeking solutions within mutually-agreed timeframes. 

Working together for solutions

There is no one solution to the present challenges, and hence the need for a multi-purpose approach with partners from the Metro, Business Chamber, Law enforcement agencies, landlords and neighbouring communities. Various engagements are already underway with the Metro, the Mayor’s Office, the local communities (Summerstrand, Missionvale and Central) and the Nelson Mandela Business Chamber, towards defeating crime and creating a safe environment.

The University is meeting next week towards solidifying its role with these partners in developing a metro-wide initiative to this effect.   

Internally, the Safety and Security Task Team established in 2017, chaired by the Dean of Students and comprising multi-stakeholders including students and University management, will be re-activated. It was agreed that it will meet every two weeks to continuously reflect on progress and identify challenges and other issues.

Staff and students are encouraged to offer ideas and solutions by contacting

Off-campus solutions

As the majority of our 28 000-plus students live off campus, working with our partners in creating sustainable solutions across the metro, but initially in Summerstrand, Central and Missionvale where our students live and study, will be key. To this end, the University is:

  • Developing a transport solution that will enable its students to reach their private residences and the campuses safely.
  • Working with the Summerstrand Community Crime Forum and the Metro to introduce a safe “green route” on the key pedestrian routes in Summerstrand where as many as 10 000 of our students live. While the University has invested in 10 SOS emergency towers, it is awaiting the Municipality’s support in providing electricity. The cameras and emergency alarm are linked to the University’s Operation, Monitoring, Analysis and Response Rooms (OMARR).     
  • Working with communities in Missionvale to address security issues in the area.
  • Investing in a 24-hour dedicated patrol van for the Missionvale campus.

On-Campus improvements

The technology strategy for security upgrades and improvements is a holistic one, and the foundation on which the University’s plan is based, along with training and development of staff and the critical role of stakeholder support.

A new technology system that integrates data from a variety of security systems at Nelson Mandela University will shortly be completed as a key step towards further managing and improving safety and security across all seven campuses.  The new system – known as CiiMS (Central Integrated Information Management System) – will synchronise all systems into a single security case management system, enabling the integrated capture and management of information related to incidents, risk management, and other matters. This is scheduled for completion in October 2019.

Other general upgrades include:

  • New perimeter fencing and infrastructure improvements at various campuses.
  • The completion of OMARR (Operation, Monitoring, Analysis and Response Rooms - formerly known as the control rooms) viewing stations on each campus, as well as the infrastructure and technology upgrades of the main OMARR centres on North and George campuses.
  • The introduction of a safe walking Green Route on South Campus, supported by additional surveillance cameras. The University has increased the number of CCTV cameras and now has over 1000 cameras in the security network, including several with LPR (Licence Plate Recognition) capability at campus entrances. 
  • The introduction of access verification for motorists using staff and student cards. 
  • Silent panic alarms in all 180 computer labs.
  • Wall alarms in the 24-hour labs.
  • A new self-service boom on South Campus which staff and students are encouraged to use.
  • The introduction of Instacom communication for Protection Services staff, which monitors the planned patrol patterns.
  • The introduction of rapid response security teams.

Biometrics for on-campus residences

One of the more recent improvements has been the introduction of a biometric entry system for the University’s student residences in Port Elizabeth.  Students can now only access their living quarters by using their thumb print. 

Furthermore, the South Campus residences’ study centres will have surveillance cameras installed to enhance security in and around these venues.  

Bird Street Campus

Our partnership with the Metro assists with Bird Street campus, which is particularly vulnerable given its location in Central.

Apart from infrastructure, technology and equipment improvements in safeguarding this smaller campus (a swipe-in system), and the introduction of silent panic alarms and an alarm in the laboratory, the University committed its support for the implementation of a Special Rates Areas (SRA) in the area. The SRA will, amongst others, develop and implement a better security management system for the area, which includes crime reduction initiatives. 

Missionvale Campus

The University is presently implementing a safety and security plan to counter the many challenges relating to crime experienced at its Missionvale Campus, especially at weekends, since regular patrols have proved insufficient.

It is collaborating with the Metro, SAPS and Missionvale Community Forum towards reducing crime. This initiative is complemented by the institution of a weekly meeting led by the Mayor focusing on a Metro-wide technology driven safety and security plan.

Apart from strengthening relations and partnership with the neighbouring Missionvale community, various safety and security interventions will be implemented once approved by MANCO.

This includes:

  • The installation and electrification of a fortified perimeter fence.
  • Improved campus lighting.
  • Upgrades and additional surveillance cameras.

It has already introduced 24-hour armed surveillance.

George Campus

Since George is a completely open campus, the strategy has been to secure the campus building-by-building, through patrols, monitoring and prompt reactive service. The other leg of the strategy is to work very closely with stakeholders and students.   The OMARR control room is fully operational and training has helped with the ongoing challenge of absenteeism.

There have been sporadic incidences where students have been mugged off campus but this has decreased thanks, in part, to the provision of the shuttle services, particularly at night.  Regular business partner meetings are used to register the University concerns. 

A similar strategy involving technology, the upskilling of staff and stakeholder relations, working very closely with the Metro, SAPS and communities close to the University, is being used.  The objective is to reduce crime in the city which flows into the communities and the University.  There is even a willingness for business to pool resources to fund this initiative.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777