Aviwe Jacob at the spot where his friend Xolisa Tom was shot dead allegedly by police. Picture: ANA Reporter

East London - Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) on Wednesday, said it was investigating allegations that police used live ammunition during violent protests in Stutterheim, in the Eastern Cape.

The protests began on Tuesday when unemployed young people from the nearby Mlungisi township took to the streets and burned down municipal buildings of the Amahtlathi Municipality, Amathole District Municipality Satellite Offices and the local clinic.

At least one person is alleged to have been killed in clashes with police although this could not be confirmed. Protesters alleged that they were not getting jobs from the municipality due to nepotism and jobs for sex and bribery. 

Xolisa Tom, 27, was shot dead allegedly by the police who were allegedly using live ammunition to disperse violent protests.

Tom's friend Aviwe Jacob said the two of them were not part of the protest. 

"We were not part of the protest, we have an ongoing court case and we were supposed to be at court yesterday [on Tuesday]... As we were approaching the street corner on our way home from the court we saw four police officers, and they started shooting at us."

He said they hid near one of the buildings in the street corner. 

"After a while, we looked around... trying to check if the police were still there but then I heard two gunshots. Xolisa [Tom] who was in front of me fell but I caught him before he fell down, I put him down and then fled the scene. But as I was running I saw no one chasing me and I went back to where I left him and found him in the pool of blood," said Jacob. 

Ipid spokesman Moses Dlamini said the shooting was reported to the Ipid by the cluster commander of the South African Police Service (SAPS) as required by the IPID Act No. 1 of 2011.

"The police shot in the direction of the protesters. One male was shot on the head. He was taken to hospital. He died in the early hours of 17 October 2018," said Dlamini.

He said Ipid was investigating a case of murder but no arrests have been made.

Spokeswoman for Stutterheim Police Siphokazi Mawisa said police have arrested 18 suspects in connection with public violence. Business came to standstill in the town despite police presence throughout the town.

African News Agency/ANA