Pretoria - Many prospective students making their way to Pretoria to start their first-year courses must be aware of criminals operating around their campuses and the inner city.
This was the warning issued by the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) in Tshwane, which has launched an initiative to make new students aware of criminals targeting unsuspecting people.
Santaco's Tshwane chairperson, Abner Tsebe, said the local taxi branch has launched a campaign called Tlhokomela (Be Alert) to make prospective students aware of crime in the city.
"There are people roaming around to try and rob academic students. Some rob them of their money. We came up with this programme just to alert students about the crime around the city," he said.
Tsebe said the taxi industry was working in conjunction with law-enforcement agencies such as the SAPS and the metro police.
Asked how the industry would protect the students, Tsebe said: "We have patrol vehicles and we want to turn them into a peace force. We want to engage the government to provide training for them, and they must become like security guards for the industry."
He said the high-risk areas where students usually experienced crime were around Unisa and the Tshwane University of Technology.
Students were robbed of their valuables, including mobile phones and money.
"People might take human trafficking very lightly, but it is happening underground. Some people are losing their lives. There is also a problem with drugs as well."
Tsebe said one of the campaign’s objectives was to visit different campuses when new students arrived in order to spread the safety message.
"We are also talking to the institutions so that when they see our patrollers, they don't become enemies to them. We are saying to the community that we need to work together against this crime," he said.