Durban – KwaZulu-Natal’s ANC youth league (ANCYL) chairperson, Kwazi Mshengu, has said that the governing party’s youth wing was willing to work with opposition student youth to restore calm at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) following the death of a student.
“We will engage [the EFF]; let us hope they will engage with us. If not it will be unfortunate, as we don’t want to politicise this thing or use the death of a student for political gains. Our view is no matter our political differences, that does not negate the importance of human life,” said Mshengu.
He was speaking to African News Agency (ANA) outside the DUT Steve Biko campus on Wednesday prior to an ANC-affiliated South African Students Congress (SASCO) press briefing.
The EFF student command (EFFSC) held a press briefing before SASCO’s to outline its version of events that led to the killing of 20-year-old Mlungisi Madonsela, an EFF member, who was shot outside the campus on Tuesday and later died in hospital.
The press conferences took place on opposite sides of the street, with a strong police presence keeping watch.
The shooting allegedly happened during a scuffle between students and private campus security when about 30 students – armed with bricks and rocks - tried to storm an administration building. A security guard and administration assistant were injured during the violence and hospitalised.
Madonsela’s death took place during heightened tensions around campuses in KwaZulu-Natal following a call for a “total shutdown” at provincial tertiary education institutions amidst funding and accommodation difficulties.
Police are investigating but have said they do not know yet who fired the shot that killed Madonsela.
“We are willing to work with anybody [such as the EFF] who is interested in the safety of students. Campuses should be places of safety. Parents at home should feel comfortable that their children are secured and safe. Whoever is willing to partner with us to ensure that we restore calm and safety at these institutions, we will work with them,” said Mshengu.
He said students should unite to champion their common interests.
“We want to call for restraint from all parties involved, both the students and management and those that are protecting the institutions. They should all exercise restraint and under no circumstances should we see [a recurrence of] this incident.”
In a statement released on Wednesday, the EFF in KwaZulu-Natal said it had written to DUT to register its “disdain and discomfort” with management following Madonsela’s death.
“This is a time to reflect on issues affecting our society and assess the brutality the sitting government is enforcing on innocent students who are determined to change their plight through free quality education,” said the statement.
DUT has been closed until further notice but management will be holding a media briefing in uMhlanga later on Wednesday.
African News Agency (ANA)