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The number of reported criminal incidents in and around the campus communities has the attention of Nelson Mandela University. The incident reports of muggings and/or robberies affecting our staff, students and the community is concerning and is being addressed.


The safety and security of all is essential in creating a conducive environment for effective learning and teaching.  This environment extends to the living spaces of our students, both on and off campuses.

To address this, the University has developed a strategy, which is currently being implemented, that is premised on the effective deployment of security personnel, the efficient use of technology, robust stakeholder collaboration and management.

While strides have been made in addressing safety issues and towards eradicating all forms of criminal activity to ensure safe campuses and residences, crime remains a challenge, not just for the University but for the Nelson Mandela Bay community.

The latest data of a Victims Survey on estimates that most victims in 2016/17 experienced burglary 53% and theft outside the home 42%.  According to other crime and safety data updated in August 2019 on, the perception of visitors show that the level of crime rates in Port Elizabeth has risen over the past three years.  Particular criminal hotspots indicate that Summerstrand and the inner city, where there is a concentration of our students, are amongst the targeted areas.

Several initiatives to curb criminal activity have been put in place both on University campuses as well as its surrounds, in collaboration with the local South African Police Services, communities and private security companies.

The University is part of the Nelson Mandela Metro Mayoral Forum on Safety and Security in the city.  The forum sits weekly and is attended by all law enforcement agencies, including private security firms operating in the Metro.

These collaborations have been effective in ensuring that some of the perpetrators of crime are identified, pursued and apprehended.  There have also been efforts towards crime proofing our campuses, which include active access monitoring at the entrances.

Technology interventions in the strategy rollout include the introduction of the Operation, Monitoring, Analysis and Response Rooms (OMARR) (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.

This enabled the recent detection of a break-in to one of the larger computer labs on Missionvale Campus, where criminals had gained access through the roof.  Upon detection of the crime under way, Protection Services at North Campus alerted colleagues at Missionvale, as well as the Police, leading to the successful arrests of the alleged perpetrators.

The University is mindful that students, in particular, are preyed on while trying to access computer labs and other study centres for learning material.  As a result, WI-FI is being extended to accredited off-campus residence to enable students to access online study material from their respective residences.

This project is being implemented and is due for completion by the end August.  Accredited off-campus residences have been encouraged to make their contribution in providing the requisite infrastructure to activate the service.  A steering committee that includes the Student Representative Council is overseeing the rollout of this project.

Other safety and security improvements to date comprises:

The introduction of a number of improvements as part of the University’s safety and security implementation plan since 2018 include:

  • New fencing and infrastructure improvements at various 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 Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) capability cameras 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, and
  • The introduction of rapid response security teams.

Biometrics for 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. 

Online Information system:

A new technology system known as the Central Integrated Information Management System (CiiMS), that integrates data from a variety of security systems at Nelson Mandela University will soon be introduced as a key step towards further managing and improving safety and security across all seven campuses.

The new CiiMS will make reporting, be it a crime or any other incident, far easier and more effective as it will replace the traditional hand-written OB Occurrence Book (OB) and other manual processes.    


With each intervention, Protection Services staff have received training to consistently develop their own skill set.  This is inclusive of technology training on which much of the safety plan is reliant.  To date, a number of Protection Services staff have also received additional training with regards to evacuations and emergency drills as well as events training. Other training initiatives are planned.

In conclusion, crime remains a challenge that requires concerted and collaborative efforts in an attempt to curb it.  The University remains committed to continue to build and strengthen existing partnerships with all relevant law enforcement agencies and communities in the fight against crime.  In strengthening our crime fighting initiatives, the University will deploy additional security to cover some newly identified vulnerable areas on our campuses.  Work continues towards keeping abreast with the ever-changing criminal tactics, readying ourselves to effectively and efficiently respond.

Communication & Stakeholder Liaison

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777