We had nothing to do with student's death in TUT campus clash, police insist
The police told watchdog Ipid that when they left, no one was injured — but one student says he saw something different
The police say they had nothing to do with the fatal shooting of a student at the Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve campus‚ the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) reported on Friday.
“The police reported that they fired at the ground with R5 rifles and that when they left no one was injured but police vehicles were damaged‚” said Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini.
The student died after police reported to the institution following an uproar over the SRC elections.
“[The police claimed that they] were later informed that a student had been shot and injured. The student died in an ambulance en route to hospital on the R80 road‚” said Dlamini.
Ipid has since seized the firearms of the officers who reported to the scene.
“The postmortem will be held on August 24 at Ga-Rankuwa mortuary. The docket will be collected today for further investigations‚” Dlamini said.
A student who spoke to TimesLIVE said the deceased was shot dead outside the campus.
He said chaos had erupted on campus at about 5pm, after one of the presiding officers overseeing the elections allegedly was caught trying to steal a box containing used ballot papers.
“The person was caught and the students confronted him‚ wanting to know who had sent him. They wanted to assault him but the security guards intervened and took him to the control room. The next thing‚ there were police [officers present]‚” said the student.
“They just released shots and we even found empty cartridges‚ to prove that they were not using rubber bullets‚” the man said.
He said he had been on campus when the student was shot. He arrived to find the injured student lying on the ground.
“It seemed like the student had been shot on the head‚ above the ear‚” the student told TimesLIVE. “But he did not die at the scene. He had a weak pulse but it was there. He died on his way to the hospital.” The student said the ambulance arrived about 40 minutes after it was called.
The student said the deceased student was a Pasma (Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania) member. “He did not attend this campus but he was at the South campus.”
The student maintained that students were not armed and had only hurled stones at the police. “There was no need for the police to open live ammunition‚” said the student.
During the unrest‚ students went on the rampage. “Last night‚ the students were very angry and they ended up burning one of the security cars. They also destroyed one of the buildings and damaged a few things in the control room‚” he said.
According to Dlamini‚ police were called in after they were told that the presiding officer was held hostage. “The police drove into the campus in about 10 police vehicles and they managed to rescue the presiding officer. On their way out of the campus‚ the students allegedly barricaded the entrance of the campus and started throwing stones at the police and their vehicles. There were about 2‚000 students‚” said Dlamini.
Students went on the rampage again on Friday morning. They were believed to have set the institution’s radio station alight.
Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (Daso) chairperson Sam Beynon said had said earlier that Daso condemned the use of force by police.
“It is paramount that law enforcement and private security act with restraint in volatile environments,” she said.
Amid the unrest‚ students took to social media to post videos of the chaos that unfolded.
Some videos showed that several fires had been started on the campus‚ with disgruntled students setting alight ballot papers.
The university spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.