Pretoria - Chaotic scenes were witnessed in the Pretoria central business district (CBD) on Wednesday as thousands of Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) students demanded justice for final year law student Katlego Andries Monareng who was was fatally shot at campus, allegedly by police.
"We want to make it very clear that we, the students of the [TUT] Soshanguve campus, we are not going back to class until the man who killed one of our own is brought to justice. We are not only fighting for Katlego Monareng, but we are fighting for the entire population of South Africa," said one of the protest leaders, Gift Mabuza of Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (Pasma).
"There will not be any schooling at TUT until the man [who shot Monareng] is brought to justice. By the way, we have the capacity to make the whole Pretoria ungovernable."
Mabuza insisted that scores of students witnessed the shooting of Monareng, in scuffles which followed disputed annual Student Representative Council (SRC) elections at the Soshanguve campus, north of Pretoria.
"We did not read about this shooting on WhatsApp, we did not see it on Facebook ... we were there physically. We witnessed it. We have told the investigating officers from Ipid [Independent Police Investigate Directorate] that we are available for any enquiry. We are willing to assist, we were there when one of our was shot by police," said Mabuza.
"The police were shooting with their R5 rifles in front of the main gate."
Numerous shops were closed in the Pretoria inner city, with reports of looting at some fast food outlets.
The angry students marched to the Police Minister Bheki Cele's offices, demanding that Cele receive their memorandum. Cele's deputy Bongani Mkongi later received the students' memorandum, but he had initially been given a tough time as the crowd demanded to see Cele -- who was unavailable.
A large fire was ignited in the streets, outside the police headquarters, as the crowd of agitated students demanded to be addressed by Cele.
Mkongi said it was unfortunate that police officers continue to use "heavy force" at peaceful protests.
"We are processing the matter. We have heard the [students], and we are serious about this particular matter, especially when police are using heavy force on the students movement and the peaceful protests. We have been raising this matter, that we don't want [police] dogs and live ammunition at the institutions [of learning]," Mkongi spoke to journalists.
Mkongi said if it is confirmed that a police R5 assault rifle was used to shoot Monareng, there will be consequences for the shooter.
African News Agency/ANA