SOUTH AFRICA: Poor students turn to crime, prostitution

Greedy university students in South Africa are resorting to crime so that they can splash out on fashionable clothing and trendy cellphones, writes Prega Govender in the Sunday Times. Figures obtained from several tertiary institutions paint a startling picture of the extent of criminal activity by students around the country.

Statistics on the criminal activities of students, provided by universities and colleges, show the University of Zululand in a particularly bad light. Since last year, 34 of its students have been convicted of a host of violent crimes, including one found guilty of attempted murder, two of rape and robbery, four of possessing unlicensed firearms and three of housebreaking. Another 316 criminal cases against students are before the courts, including six of armed robbery.

A few weeks ago Durban University of Technology student Sbongiseni Chibisa, 30, was shot dead in Pinetown while trying to flee in a car that he and an accomplice allegedly hijacked. At the University of Limpopo, three students have been charged with the murder of fellow student Nkosinathi Mhlongo, in February.

Some students contend that they are driven to criminal activity by a lack of money to pay their fees or buy food. Female students are increasingly resorting to prostitution to pay for food, clothing and other expenses.
Full report on the Sunday Times site