MUT to tighten security at residences following student’s murder

Metal detectors will be installed at all entrances of Mangosuthu University of Technology’s (MUT) outsourced residences following the recent murder of a female student at the university’s Lonsdale residence in Durban.

The university’s management announced at a press briefing on Tuesday in Umlazi, south of Durban, that they had written to the residence’s landlords regarding the scanners and said “they have responded positively and are willing to install these as a matter of urgency”.

First-year Quantity Surveying student Zolile Khumalo, 21, was shot dead in the early hours of last Tuesday, May 2, at her residence in the Durban CBD. The residence is privately leased.

READ MORE: #ZolileKhumalo ― Students come out in numbers to protest outside court

She was allegedly shot dead by 23-year-old Thabani Mzolo, who is believed to be Khumalo’s boyfriend. Police found her at the scene with multiple gunshot wounds.

Mzolo who is a former MUT student, took to Facebook shortly after the shooting to apparently confess to the crime.

He had been signed into Khumalo’s residence by another registered student, according to the institution. Police had said that Mzolo surrendered to the police.

An unlicensed firearm and ammunition were recovered at the scene.

“The accused, Thabani Mzolo, is our former electrical student who was last registered with MUT in 2017,” the university’s vice chancellor and principal, Dr Enock Duma Malaza, said.

Students receive counselling

Malaza said that, to ensure that adequate security measures were in place, MUT would engage their internal auditors to audit security at all the residences, on and off campus.

“This should be completed within a month. It should give a clear indication on whether MUT minimum standards are being adhered to and will ensure that measures taken to beef up security are informed by an expert opinion,” he said.

He said, given that security was outsourced at MUT, the university would in the interim increase control of security measures and follow-ups with the landlords.

“There will now be a penalty clause for non-compliance with security measures by landlords of outsourced residences.

MUT’s Protection Services will develop a strategic monitoring and evaluation programme for the safety and security of our students,” he said.

Acting deputy vice chancellor Professor Nokwethemba Ndlazi said Khumalo’s roommate had witnessed the whole incident.

“She is currently receiving counselling following the incident,” said Ndlazi.

She was no longer staying in that room, the institution confirmed.

A trauma debriefing session with all students in the block where Khumalo was residing was held on Monday.

‘Parallel investigation’

Ndlazi also denied that the trending picture of the accused and Khumalo ― carrying a rifle and a pistol respectively ― was taken at one of their residences.

The university was conducting its own “parallel investigation” on how Mzolo managed to enter the residence.

“The university’s investigation looks at the level of compliance by our landlords to our norms and standards they need to adhere to which prescribe the level of security that needs to be there.”

Among the issues to be raised would be ensuring that landlords are using registered security officials.

“The investigation would look at all those issues to see whether they might have been breached somewhere,” she said.

Mzolo has been charged with murder and the possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

He smiled as journalists took photographs of him when he made his first appearance in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, May 3.

The case was postponed to May 10 for further investigation.

A memorial service for Khumalo will be held at the Umlazi campus on Thursday. ― News24

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