Wits student leader shot at close range

Johannesburg – Former University of the Witwatersrand SRC leader Shaeera Kalla is being treated at hospital after she was shot by police at least nine times with rubber bullets, the university confirmed on Thursday.  

"We know she was shot nine times by police [and] being treated by campus health and taken to hospital," said Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel.  

Patel said Wits campus control and private security do not have guns or rubber bullets.  

“Several students were treated at campus health and wellness centre and one with dislocated leg was taken to hospital by the dean of students and campus nurse,” she said

When News24 arrived at Wits health clinic where Kalla was being treated earlier, she was lying on her stomach and was in tears.  

Student leader Busisiwe Seabe also fainted at the clinic.  She was seemingly short of breath.

Incoming Wits SRC deputy secretary general Kaamil Alli told News24 that Kalla was shot by police unprovoked at least 10 times.

An SABC journalist also said that Kalla was shot at close range.

Kalla was in tears while speaking to News24 and said she could not address the media at this stage.

About 200 students and workers were gathered at university's great hall under a strong police presence.

Student leader Vuyani Pambo addressed student and workers. There were five nyalas and a heavy presence of armed riot police.  

Earlier, a group of protesting students disrupted classes at the university. The protesters took test papers away from students who were writing.

Some students were collected test papers which were torn up by protesting students when they disrupted classes.

Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said the group were disrupting classes at west campus and medical school. Security and police officers were attending to it.

At least a hundred books were damaged in a fire at the university on Wednesday afternoon, the institution said on Thursday.

The fire was started in the last aisle on the second floor of the Wartenweiler Library, Patel said in a statement.

"Security has determined that the fire was started with an accelerant or flammable substance, which may have been hidden in a bag found on the scene." 

The fire was extinguished and a high level investigation was underway by Wits Security and the police.

Patel said academic activities at the university were still underway.

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