TUT students came to the CBD in large numbers to demand justice for Katlego Monareng, who was shot dead allegedly by police during riots at the Soshanguve Campus last week.
STUDENTS from Tshwane University of Technology yesterday ran riot through the CBD demanding justice for the late law student Katlego Monareng.

The Soshanguve-based student was shot last week after police intervened in the violence that followed the disputed student representative council elections.

Monareng’s death prompted a wave of anger among students who yesterday descended on the CBD in buses where they marched, some with tyres around their necks while others carried sticks and stones.

A police helicopter hovered above Church Square, where they had gathered to march to the Department of Police on Pretorius Street. Police vehicles were deployed.

Businesses were forced to close their doors and informal traders concealed their stock as the angry students ran behind a nyala while some climbed on the vehicle.

When they arrived outside the building they started hurling insults and burning items. Officers tried to put out the fires and take away the tyres, but the students overpowered them.

Deputy Minister Bongani Mkongi tried to calm them down, but his presence was unwelcome.

The students wanted to speak to Minister Bheki Cele to instruct him to take action against his officers who allegedly shot Monareng. Mkongi said Cele was unavailable as he was in Parliament.

“Our message is clear that we are processing the matter; we have heard the students. We are serious about this matter, especially when police are using great force or heavy force on the student movement and a peaceful protest,” he said.

Mkongi said the SAPS was holding the station commander of Soshanguve accountable for the incident. “They (the station commander and his team) have given me a written report and I am going through that report, but I am going to compare that report with the report I am going to get from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) in order to make a comparative study and then make up my mind.”

He said if the officer who allegedly pulled the trigger used an R5 firearm, he or she would be punished. He said officers who were at the scene on the day were undergoing investigations from Ipid, but he could not confirm if there were any suspended officers yet.

Mkongi said the police were going to reopen another case where another student at the university lost his life with police blamed for the death.

Benjamin Phehla died last year during a protest when he was hit by a car trying to run from police officers who used unnecessary force against students.

Student leader Sthembiso Kashandu said: “We are tired of these police officers shooting and hurting us when they are not provoked. They shoot and hurt students because they can get away with it and this time we are saying enough is enough.

“We demand drastic action for comrade Katlego.”

University spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said vice-chancellor Professor Lourens van Staden suspended academic activities in all campuses for the remainder of the week in honour of Monareng.

“The TUT flag will fly half-mast at all campuses until the end of the week,” she said.

Monareng’s memorial service is scheduled for today, and he will be buried at his Bushbuckridge home on Saturday.