The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) has condemned the shooting of two student journalists from Wits University.
Nondumiso Lehutso and Aphelele Buqwana were shot and wounded during student clashes with police at the institution earlier on Wednesday.
A 35-year-old was also shot dead when police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets at the protestors.
Sanef says the two students are being treated at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg. The Wits students are unhappy that students who owe the university outstanding fees are not being allowed to register for the new year.
Sanef Spokesperson, Hopewell Radebe believes the shooting was malicious and intentional. “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.”
Dozens of students blockaded the busy Empire road with rocks and burning tyres. Traffic was forced to a standstill, prompting police to use stun grenades and rubber bullets to force the protesting students off the road.
Students retaliated by hurling rocks and stones at the police. They then dispersed, and the road was reopened to traffic. The entrances to the main campus have been closed by the university and are heavily guarded by security and police.
Students have threatened a complete shutdown of campuses across the country if their demands are not met.
‘SAHRC deeply concerned’
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in Gauteng, says it is deeply concerned about police conduct when dealing with protests.
SAHRC chairperson in Gauteng Buang Jones is at the scene to conduct oversights as a group of students continue to protest.
“Our presence here is to assess the situation to see how we can assist in quelling excessive use of force by members of the SAPS but we also seek to facilitate a resolution that will meet the interest of both parties. We want to speak with the vice-chancellor of wits and also the student body and other student formations on Monday next week we will meet with the financial scheme the meeting seeks to address some of the students across the country not just here in wits university.”
SAHRC’s Advocate André Hurtley Gaum:
Concern over police conduct during protests
Meanwhile, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in Gauteng, says it is deeply concerned about police conduct when dealing with protests.
SAHRC Chairperson in Gauteng Buang Jones visited the scene this afternoon. “Our presence here is to assess the situation to see how we can assist in quelling excessive use of force by members of the SAPS but we also seek to facilitate a resolution that will meet the interest of both parties. We want to speak with the Vice-Chancellor of Wits and also the student body and other student formations. On Monday next week, we will meet with the financial scheme, the meeting seeks to address some of the students across the country not just here in Wits University.”
Ipid to probe Wits shooting
Police watchdog the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is probing the death of the man. Members of Ipid have been dispatched to start their investigation.
“ We have summoned the stakeholders to the scene including Ipid to determine what actually transpired. We will determine who was involved in the incident. Police were deployed to the scene and we believe they know when to act when it is necessary,” says Police spokesperson Kay Makhubela.