One person was shot dead on Wednesday morning during the continuing clashes between the police and Wits students. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA)
One person was shot dead on Wednesday morning during the continuing clashes between the police and Wits students. Picture: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA)

One person killed in clashes between Wits students and cops

By Botho Molosankwe Time of article published Mar 10, 2021

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Johannesburg - One person was shot dead on Wednesday morning during the continuing clashes between the police and Wits University students.

The deceased was allegedly coming from a nearby clinic in Braamfontein when he was shot at with rubber bullets that were meant for protesting Wits students.

He was allegedly not aware of what was happening when he was struck by the rubber bullets allegedly from the police on De Beer Drive. He died at the scene.

Wits students have been protesting since last week, demanding free education and that those that still owe the institution be allowed to register.

In the video taken shortly after the man was shot, a group of people can be seen surrounding him.

As he lies still on the ground, a man can be seen performing CPR on him.

The people surrounding them man, comprising students, and car guards and security guards can be hear saying: “For what, for what? This is wrong, this is wrong.”

Paramedics later arrived at the scene and the man was then declared dead. Another picture later shows the man covered with a silver foil.

Spokesperson for the Gauteng Police Colonel Kay Makhubela said he was on his way to the scene.

Students chant slogans during protests at Wits University in Braamfontein. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Shirona Patel of Wits also said they would be releasing a statement later.

On Tuesday, a group of about 50 protesters closed some roads and entrances to Wits demanding free education and to be allowed to register despite owing the institution.

The students had gathered outside Wits from as early as 6am.

Patel said at the time that the only people at the campus were staff as students were still at home. The protesters, she said, closed the entrances to the campus as they did not want staff to access it.

Stuents protesting against what they term financial exclusion at Wits burn tyres in Empire Road, Braamfontein. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency(ANA)

“They say they want free education and that every student be allowed to register despite their historic debt.”

She said the university had made some concessions to assist students by availing funds for those that could not afford tuition, registration as well as accommodation.

A student gestures as he chants slogans during protests at Wits in Braamfontein. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

“Wits has made available a Wits Hardship Fund worth R10 million to assist students who are experiencing financial hardship and who have historical debt (up to R120 000). They can register and secure accommodation provided that they meet the criteria.

“Wits also established a Wits Covid-19 Relief Fund worth R10-million to assist students whose families have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.

“Approximately 27 000 of the University’s 37 500 students are on some form of financial aid, scholarship or bursary.”

This protest, Patel said, had elements of politicking and could also involve the students’ displeasure with the National Student Financial Aid Scheme, which is in financial difficulties. “What they want is bigger than us.”

Students from Wits University accompany a vehicle transporting the body of a victim who was allegedly shot by police during protests in Braamfontein. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

She said at some point, protesters closed the road to Wits Medical School and that meant ambulances would not be able to get to the hospital. “Police arrived and dispersed them.” Patel said they have allowed late registration until March 19.

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