Durban - A SA Students Congress (Sasco) media briefing outside the Durban University of Technology was interrupted by EFF students yesterday.
Sasco KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Mqondisi Duma was being interviewed by media when three people pushed their way through and took the pages he was holding and threatened him and his colleagues.
Moments earlier, the EFF Student Command had held its briefing, detailing how their colleague Mlungisi Madonsela was shot.
The students then walked along Steve Biko Road singing Struggle songs before gathering on the pavement.
Duma and his members held a meeting across the road, which agitated the crowd. Two men who appeared to be drunk, one carrying a glass with what appeared to be liquor inside, broke up the briefing and threatened journalists who took pictures of them.
The police intervened and removed the culprits.
Duma said Sasco had decided to engage in mass demonstrations to highlight the manner in which fee-free education is being implemented.
“The structural paralysis of the scheme is leaving poor working-class students with no choice but to raise their voice for authorities and the community at large to take our issues seriously.
“They need to give us an assurance that students will get their meals, accommodation, books and transport allowance on time without an unnecessary struggle,” Duma said.
Speaking about Madonsela’s shooting, he said the victimisation of students during demonstrations should end.
“Security companies must be subjected to tight scrutiny. The prosecution of the employee must be monitored closely,” he said.
Duma also called for intra-student political formations and for solidarity.
“The rise of political competition in our institutions makes it hard, if not impossible, for the student populace to speak in one voice on matters. We call for unity and cohesion among all non- and political formations.”
Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Mxolisi Kaunda asked the police to conduct a thorough investigation into Madonsela’s shooting and ensure high police visibility at all campuses in the province.
“We want to call on students to ensure that these protests are peaceful and do not result in further loss of lives and damage to property,” said Kaunda.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele said students allegedly attacked the security guards with bricks and damaged administration offices. An administration assistant was injured.
“It is reported that gunshots were fired directed towards the students. A 20-year-old student sustained a gunshot wound. The victim was taken to hospital for medical treatment, where he later succumbed to his injuries,” Mbele said.
Four students were arrested and charged with public violence. They will appear in the Durban Magistrate’s Court soon.
A case of murder was opened at the Berea police station.
Dr Jamila Chellan, group nursing services manager for Joint Medical Holdings, said it was not true that Madonsela was not attended to immediately at City Hospital because of billing issues. She said protocol was followed, which included stabilising Madonsela as soon as he arrived.
“Normally a gunshot wound would have an entry and exit point, which makes it easy to control the wound and bleeding.
“However, this was different because there was no exit wound and the patient was bleeding profusely.
“Our team attended to him within five minutes of him getting to the hospital until he passed on about 35 minutes later. His arrival and attendance was caught on camera.”