Earlier today, during a protest by students of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, a 35 year old civilian man passing by was shot dead, allegedly by police attempting to disperse the crowds in an area near the university. The civilian bystander was said to be coming out of a clinic he had visited as a patient.
The police fired police rubber bullets and stun grenades at the protestors, injuring two students who were treated at the Milpark hospital nearby.
The South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) has stated that it believes the police had malicious intent and called on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and the National Police Commissioner to take this incident seriously.
The students are protesting not being allowed to register for the year if their previous year’s tuition is not paid. Students have threatened a complete shutdown of campuses across the country if their demands are not met. This serious incident has brought the #FeesMustFall movement back into the centre of discussion.
DA Gauteng Spokesperson for Community Safety, Crezane Bosch MPL, issued the following statement earlier today
“The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng condemns the violence and shooting that took place in Braamfontein earlier today between the police and a group of Wits University students.
It is alleged that a protest by a group of students over university fees turned violent while one person has been shot dead.
The protestors have barricaded some of the roads in Braamfontein with burning tyres and rubble. The students are demanding that the university must allow all students with outstanding debt to register for the 2021 academic year.
While the DA understands that students have the right to protest, such actions however must be done according to the law.
The DA calls for the police to conduct an urgent investigation into exactly what happened, and also calls on Wits University and the student bodies to hold an urgent meeting in order to amicably resolve this issue.”