Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor says she has learnt with shock and dismay about the fatal shooting of a student at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) on Tuesday.  

Twenty-year-old Mlungisi Madonsela was shot and killed during a clash with campus security guards amid student protests.

University management says two security guards have been taken in for questioning by the police and DUT will launch its own internal investigation.

Pandor says Madonsela’s death is regrettable. “Any death under violent circumstances is tragic and should be avoided, particularly the loss of a young life. Families have high expectations of their children, and have probably sacrificed a great deal to secure a better life, through providing education to their child. I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the university, fellow students, but more particularly to the family and friends of the deceased student.”

The Durban University of Technology Vice Chancellor Thandwa Mthembu says only six security guards carry guns out of the 250 working on their campuses. He says the armed security guards are stationed in areas where students have reported incidents of mugging.

Mthembu says the only reason some of the security members carry guns is because their campuses are situated in high crime areas.  

“A great majority of our security personnel do not carry guns because we understand when it comes to our students there is no need to carry guns. It so happens of course yesterday (Tuesday) that because of not having enough of people who are well trained for example members of the public order police, everybody was kind of called into help with the difficult situation we were facing. We had not expected that the security officers that are responsible for perimeter guarding would also find themselves involved.”

The Economic Freedom Fighters Student Command at the DUT has denied allegations that they provoked security guards outside the Steve Biko campus on Tuesday. The group held a media briefing in Durban.

DUT Student Representative Council president Sesiyanda Godlimpi Ntuli says students used stones to defend themselves against the security guards.

“He died a very painful death yet a revolutionary death. DUT is at crisis; students are being arrested, shot and killed by their own parents whom are security guards and police. On Monday the SRC submitted the memorandum of demands to Vice Chancellor Prof Mthembu. We were hoping to have fruitful discussions with the executive however they decided not to engage on issues raised rather than intimidate, threaten us with expulsion. While members of the EFF student command DUT were standing outside, the security guard came with their managers who were carrying guns. They had just used the pepper spray without any reasons, as a result the EFF student command members responded with stones as to open a space for running then the security started to use their guns.”