DEPUTY Minister of Police Bongani Mkongi yesterday called for heads to roll at Soshanguve police station after the death of a Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) student, who was shot outside the Soshanguve North Campus.
In the meantime, most students left campus after they received messages that classes had been suspended.
Katlego Monareng, a third-level LLB student and Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania member, died after allegedly being shot by police during the unrest linked to SRC elections on Thursday night.
Mkongi said it came as a shock to the Police Ministry that a student was gunned down with a assault rifle by one of their own. “Why are police officers carrying R5 rifles inside learning institutions? It makes no sense.
“Why would one be heavily armed to disperse students? Surely there were less aggressive equipment that might have been utilised in order to keep the situation under control,” he told the Pretoria News before addressing student leaders in a private meeting at the Police Academy in Pretoria West.
He said whoever was found guilty of the shooting would face the full might of the law. “Police officers are no exception. If, in fact, results show that the bullet that killed the young man belonged to a policeman, they must suffer the ultimate consequences, with no exception whatsoever.”
According to Mkongi, what was particularly surprising was that students complained that when there were incidents of rape, robbery or assault, police in Soshanguve, who are a stone's throw away from the campus, made an excuse that they were short of vehicles.
“It’s funny how when there is a dispute of a democratic engagement, they rush to the scene with heavy ammunition. This leaves much to be desired. Head must definitely roll,” he said.
TUT council chairperson Dr Bandile Masuku also said the culprit should face the full might of the law. In addition, Masuku said they were disappointed in the manner in which the SRC elections were run. “The company that was employed by the university actually mishandled and mismanaged the elections,” he said.
Masuku said that in addition to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate(Ipid), the university was also conducting its own forensic investigation.
The Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania - an affiliate of the PAC - called for a shutdown of all the TUT campuses. It demanded answers from the police and TUT management on how the shooting occurred.
PAC spokesperson Kenneth Mokgatlhe supported the student organisation’'s fury at the incident.
He claimed that students had been demanding answers after an independent presiding officer was found with a box full of used ballot papers. Students had confronted the presiding officer, resulting in security services intervening.
Students wanted to attack him, but security guards intervened and took him to the safety of their control room and called in police. It was during the scuffle that Monareng was shot twice in the head.
Ipid said it was investigating the incident.
“The police reported that they fired at the ground with R5 rifles and that when they left no one had been injured, but police vehicles were damaged,” said Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini. “The police claimed that they were later informed that a student had been shot and injured. The student died in an ambulance on the R80 road en route to hospital,” he said.
Ipid has since seized the firearms of the officers present at the scene and a post-mortem was conducted.
Meanwhile, students left campus yesterday after being informed that classes had been suspended until further notice.
Education for Social Justice Foundation deputy chairperson Hendrick Makaneta called on the South African Council of Churches to earmark the TUT Soshanguve campuses as the most notorious.
He said: “TUT Soshanguve campus remains the most notorious campus in the entire terrain of higher education. The SA Council of Churches should step in to eradicate moral decay in that campus. It must deploy pastors from different denominations to pray for the students and staff alike, but most importantly to pray for the campus which has been a centre of violence for many years dating back to apartheid period when it was known as the Transvaal Northern Technikon."
Referring to the reputed bad reputation of the TUT campus, Makaneta added: “There are many people who lost their lives there alone ever since the dawn of higher learning institutions.
"Enough is enough.”
He also called on universities South Africa to find a way to collaborate with other structures to make universities safer.
“It is surprising that professors, the most educated people in society, have dismally failed to develop strategies to counter tendencies of criminality at universities. Maybe it is time that we rely on God for solutions.”