University of Pretoria student killed over his cellphone

University of Pretoria student killed over his cellphone

Thapelo Menwe, 23, was returning to his residence at Pretoria University in Hatfield in the early hours of September 10 when he was approached from behind by a gunman.

A standoff ensued, with CCTV footage showing Menwe apparently refusing to release his valuables. The attacker shoots Menwe in the torso seconds later and he falls to the ground. Before fleeing, the man ransacks Menwe’s pockets and steals his cell phone.

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However, by a stroke of luck, the suspected shooter and his getaway driver were arrested immediately after the attack.

Unfortunately, Menwe died shortly after the attack. “Nobody deserves to die like that. He was such a good person,” said Keamogetse Rakgoale, a childhood friend who attended high school with Menwe in his north-west hometown of Zeerust.

“I remember last weekend when I saw him and I said to someone, ‘Thapelo is the best person ever. If you have a problem with Thapelo, the problem is you,” Rakgoale said in

Students at the University of Pretoria were outraged that a robbery and murder had happened just meters from a popular student residence.

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“I used to walk the streets with him that evening. It’s not safe. The crime rate in Hatfield is ridiculously high, particularly for students’ electronics, cell phones and laptops,” Rakgoale said. “They need to increase security and the police need to patrol more because it’s crazy that this happened just down the street from the police station.”

During an emotional memorial service outside the TuksDorp residence where Menwe was attacked, the director of student affairs, Dr. Matete Madiba to reconsider policing in the area.

“I found out today from SAPS that they used to have a youth desk connecting students and safety ambassadors to the police station. [This way we get] to make sure we hold the station here accountable. We need to rethink these initiatives to keep students safe,” Madiba said.

More than 25,000 people signed a petition to prevent the alleged perpetrators from being released on bail.

Menwe was in his postgraduate year of internal audit at UP and worked hard to pass and get a job.