Higher Education Department in communication with Wits University management over protests

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The Higher Education Department says it is in communication with Wits University management over Wednesday’s protests during which a man was shot dead and two students wounded in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

The department has called for calm as the protests over the financial exclusion of some students at the institution are set to continue on Thursday.

In the video below students vow to continue striking if demands not met:

Earlier this week, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said he hoped Cabinet would approve additional funding for the National Student Financial Aid Scheme as it does not have adequate resources to fund first-year students this year.

Higher Education spokesperson Ishmail Mnisi says, “We are in contact with the university management to establish the facts of this occurrence and the impasse that might be there between the students and the management. We want to appeal for calmness at this moment whilst we allow the law enforcement agencies to do their work.”

“We are told that they are hard at work at the moment trying to investigate this case. We want to give them an opportunity to do so and upon receipt of the report of this occurrence, we will therefore be able to communicate further.”

Meanwhile,  the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF) says it believes the shooting of the two Wits University student journalists was malicious and intentional.

Nondumiso Lehutso and Aphelele Buqwana were wounded when the police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets at the protesters. They were admitted to the Milpark Hospital.

A 35-year old man was killed when he was shot in the chest when leaving doctors’ rooms in the area.

The SA Human Rights Commission concerned over police heavy-handedness on protests:

SANEF spokesperson Hopewell Radebe says they hope the action of the police will be investigated at the highest level.

“We really think that this was unprovoked. It would have been one thing for the police to just ask the journalists to move away so you would have expected them to warn the journalists on time to let them get out of the scene if they were ready to shoot but for them to be ordered to run and be shot at without even a warning like that – it’s very malicious and intentional and we are hoping that the IPID will investigate this and not only the IPID – that the National Police Commissioner will take this seriously because this was malicious, this was intentional and it puts our country in a bad light.”