Shooting on campus leaves student leaders living in fear

2013-07-31 00:00

MEMBERS of the Student Representative Council (SRC) at the uMgungundlovu FET Plessislaer campus are living in fear following a shooting at a campus residence.

About eight SRC and South African Students’ Congress (Sasco) leaders were sleeping in a room on Sunday when they were awakened by a loud knock at the door. This was followed by a kick to the door and then shots.

Campus security claimed they did not hear anything.

Mlungisi Ngema, Sasco deputy chairperson in the uMgungundlovu region, told The Witness that Sasco leaders felt they were no longer safe on campus.

Ngema was in the room with Prince Nkomo, Sasco Msunduzi branch chairperson, Gazuzu Nduli, his uMgungundlovu counterpart, as well as Lungisani Ngubo, Sasco’s regional deputy secretary and Njabulo Mtshali, Msunduzi SRC treasurer.

“We are now threatened as the leadership of the students, because we are fighting for the rights of students.”

Ngema said they were asleep when he heard a knock.

“It was a very forceful knock and was followed by a kick at the door. They switched off the lights in the corridor and that is when the big noises started. At first I thought they were just bashing lockers in the corridor, but later we smelled the gunshot residue.

“I thought about jumping out the window, but I remembered that our room is on the first floor. We waited, scared, in the room with no airtime on our phones to make calls [for help],” said Ngema.

They remained in the room until a student in the neighbouring room, Nduduzo Madiba, came to find out what had happened.

Madiba said they were all frightened at what was happening, as they could hear that gunshots had been fired in the corridor. “I did not know what was happening. We are not safe in this campus. How can a person come in and do this without the security hearing or seeing him?” said Madiba.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan said police are investigating a case of malicious damage to property.

“Students were sleeping in their room at the FET [further education and training] College in Plessislaer when they were woken up by numerous gunshots being fired outside their room door.

“Upon further investigation, they established the door had a bullet hole and that there was a bullet head lodged in [one of the student’s] cupboard. They sustained no injuries. There have been no arrests,” said Jeevan.

She said police were investigating the incident.

Several attempts by The Witness to reach acting principal Casper de Koker yesterday for comment were unsuccessful.

The campus, which was closed last week, remained closed yesterday.

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