A student was shot dead by campus security at DUT in Durban on Tuesday afternoon.
Describing Tuesday’s events at the Durban University of Technology’s Steve Biko campus, a student, who was present and asked not to be named, said a crowd had gathered outside a building where the SRC was meeting with university management, following a march on Monday at which a memorandum of demands was handed over. “The memorandum addressed a lot of issues, our boarding, payments by NSFAS, and so on,” said the man. “We ... received a letter from the institution saying they did want to resolve matters with us.”
The witness said while an SRC member was briefing them on the meeting, the security supervisor approached and told the crowd to move away. “The guys did not want to move so the [security official] sprayed them with pepper spray and we went to the guards and asked why they were doing this.
“Then some of the guys tried to walk into the building ... and the supervisor pulled out his gun and fired three shots,” the student witness said.
“The student was rushed to City Hospital but he died. Another person was also shot during the incident,” he said. “Everything happened so quickly. I still cannot believe it.
“Why did the guard have to fire three times? Why did he have live ammunition on him? I cannot understand it. We were not doing anything wrong. We were just meeting.”
The police version of events was significantly different from that given by the student.
Provincial police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said a group of about 30 students stoned the administration building, injuring an administration staffer and a security guard.
“From there, [the protesting students] proceeded to Gates 3, 4 and 5 [and] did the same thing.”
Security at the gates called for back-up and it is understood that the student was shot during a confrontation at one of the gates.
The exact place the student was shot would form part of the investigation, Mbhele told News24.
ENCA reported that four students were arrested. Charges of murder and public violence are being investigated.
DUT spokesperson Nduduzo Ndlovu said in a statement: “DUT sends its deepest sincere condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. We plead that the family and the university be offered the opportunity to grieve the passing of the student.
“As a result of this tragic incident and many other violent altercations, the university management has decided to close the university until further notice,” said Ndlovu.