Police watchdog probes Wits protest killing
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Johannesburg - The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is probing the death of a 35-year-old man who was shot and killed, allegedly by the police on Wednesday morning.
It is believed that the man was caught in running battles between protesting Wits students and the police who had arrived at the scene to maintain order.
He was allegedly just coming out of a medical centre in Braamfontein when he was struck by rubber bullets. He died at the scene.
Ipid spokesperson Ndileka Cola said the directorate was notified of the incident by the Hillbrow Police Station and it dispatched four investigation officers to investigate.
“The team will also cordon the crime scene and conduct the investigation including locating the person with the video footage, identify eye witnesses.
“Furthermore Ipid will ensure the body is protected and carried safe to the mortuary.
“If this incident is within the mandate of Ipid, the normal investigation process will unfold,“ Cola said.
A medical doctor at the medical centre, Dr Tebogo Sedibe, told the SABC News that the man had just been to see him for check up.
“Apparently he sustained the gunshot would when he walked out of the centre. My assistant immediately called me to assist. I found the man gasping and I performed CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) compression only to try and resuscitate him. Unfortunately it was not successful,” Dr Sedibe said
At the time of the shooting, the students had been protesting for a few days, allegedly demanding free education and to be allowed to register despite still owing Wits.
The previous day they had blocked entrances to the university and also closed Empire Road with dustbins.
However, both the Metro Police and the SAPS dispersed them.
Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said the university was deeply saddened to learn of the man’s death. She said Wits condemns any form of violence and calls on all persons to keep calm “during this very difficult time”.
“The university extends its condolences to the family of the deceased.
“Wits notes with deep concern the escalation of the situation which is regrettable, and we call on all persons to remain calm during this difficult time. The university remains committed to seeking creative, peaceful solutions to any outstanding issues in the higher education sector,” she said.
Patel said they also understand that two student reporters were injured, and three protesters were arrested and taken to the Hillbrow Police Station.
“The university has made available health and counselling services to students and members of the community who require assistance,” Patel said.