10 March 2021
Pretoria – Police fired rubber bullets indiscriminately and used tear gas on a group of Witwatersrand University students who were protesting for financial inclusion on Wednesday while one person, presumably a bystander was shot and succumbed to injuries.
Protestors blocked some roads in the CBD with burning rubble and throwing stones at police officers. Students are accusing university management of not addressing the plight of those who failed to register for the 2021 academic year as a result of past debt. About 6,000 students have failed to register at the institution.
Students are demanding that they be allowed to register as many were unable to pay due to economic losses posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Several arrests have been made as a result of the clashes that broke out on Wednesday, with police saying they are carrying out investigations to determine what led to the fatal shooting.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) on Wednesday dispatched four investigation officers to the scene of the fatal shooting where police and students clashed on Wednesday. Ipid spokesperson Ndileka Cola said the directorate was informed about a shooting by Hillbrow Police Station earlier on Wednesday.
“The team will cordon the crime scene and conduct an investigation , including locating the person with the video footage and identifying eyewitnesses. Furthermore, Ipid will ensure the body is protected and carried safely to the mortuary. If this incident is within the mandate of ipid, the normal investigation process will unfold,” Cola said.
Meanwhile , Themba Masango who works with a civil rights movement #NotinMyName, said his organisation is worried and concerned with the brutal murder of a civilian during the protest by students in Braamfontein, adding that students at Wits University have been holding peaceful protests in their quest for education.
“The reported murder of a civilian is another indictment to the blood thirsty nature police have for this country. Once again, their brutal hand has left an innocent black man dead in the streets of Johannesburg. This is all because students are pursuing a noble cause for access to education, one wonders if the police have any regard for life and education in this country,” Masango said.
“#NotinMyName calls for the speediest arrest of the police officers who were involved in the reckless opening of live fire on peaceful protestors and civilians. We also urge the Minister of Higher Education to bring an end to this issue of student funding in South Africa. We need the political will that ends the vicious cycle of the poor being unable to register in institutions of higher learning .Education is a constitutional right of all who desire to study,” he said.