Bullets fired as students, cops clash

2010-02-05 14:34

Three people were injured during a confrontation between students and police at

Tshwane University of Technology’s Soshanguve campus today, a university

spokesman said.

Chaos broke at around 8am on day three of registration when a group

believed to be members of the student organisation Pan Africanist Student

Movement of Azania (Pasma) sang at the entrance while their leader climbed a

perimeter wall, said spokesman Gilbert Mokwatedi.

“[He wanted] to address students queuing for registration. As

security officials tried to remove this person from the wall, a group of people

pelted security officers with stones,” said Mokwatedi.

A security guard was injured when a stone hit him in the eye and a

student was injured when she fell trying to run away from the stone-throwing

group.

A police officer was also injured, and the three were taken to

hospital.

The city’s department of community safety spokesman Console Tleane

said the windscreen of a metro police van was smashed with a rock by “unruly

elements“.

He said police retaliated in self-defence and to protect students

who wanted to continue with registration.

“The group fled on foot and disappeared into the township. No one

was arrested or hurt. The situation is now calm and the registration of students

is continuing normally,” said Tleane this morning.

He said the identities of the perpetrators were known to police and

police will continue to maintain a presence at the campus.

As one of the security measures, the street in front of the campus

had been closed off to traffic since Wednesday.

Pasma spokesman Vusi Mahlangu said they were peacefully trying to

speak to queuing students when they were attacked by “bouncers“.

“We were attacked and we retaliated. Two people from our group were

brutally beaten up,” said Mahlangu.

He said they were protesting against various problems students had

encountered since Wednesday when the campus re-opened.

“There’s about 250 students in our list who were either told they

were not in the system, that there was no longer space although they have been

accepted and their applications could not be found.”

Mahlangu said they were regrouping to decide on their next

action.

However, Tleane warned: “We wish to warn this group that no

disruptive or violent behaviour will be tolerated under any circumstances.

“Any act of violence against the police or other students will be

dealt with decisively.”

The campus was re-opened on Wednesday after it was closed due to a

violent student protest last week in which one student was injured.

The student representative council and political activities were

suspended and a court order was obtained against Pasma.

Students were unhappy about what they claimed was a slow

registration process and filthy residences.

The university cited drunkardness, hooliganism and drug abuse as

the reasons behind the closure.

Vice-chancellor Errol Tyobeka and Tshwane mayor Gwen Ramokgopa have

vowed to spend millions on upgrading the university.


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