Six Wits University students are expected to appear in the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court in Johannesburg on Thursday morning.
The students were arrested on Wednesday during student protests over financial exclusions in Braamfontein, where Mthokozisi Ntumba (35) was fatally shot, allegedly by police.
Police Minister Bheki Cele is visiting Ntumba’s family in Kempton Park this morning:
The six students were arrested and released on bail. Police say they are likely to face charges relating to public violence.
Police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), says it has seized police firearms which will be sent for ballistic tests as part of their investigation into the death of Ntumba.
Students say demonstrations will continue until their demands are met:
The situation is calm at Wits University’s main campus in Braamfontein and there is a strong police presence in and around Wits University’s main campus.
At least eight police vehicles, including two Nyalas, are stationed near the Empire road entrance to the Wits main campus, with university security, some dressed in riot gear, having been deployed to various university entrances.
The Wits SRC has threatened to shut down the institution until their demands are met, including that all students with historical debt be allowed to register for the 2021 academic year.
Wits vice chancellor, Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, is expected to hold a virtual media briefing at 10am this morning to address student demands and the state of the University’s finances.
Wits Protest | SASCO reacts to Wednesday’s events
List of demands:
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 yesterday 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.”
SAHRC’s Advocate André Hurtley Gaum reacts to the events that occurred:
Meanwhile, the South African Union of Students (SAUS) has threatened to shut down all institutions of higher learning in the country should Nzimande fail to come up with a tangible solution to tuition funding.
This follows protest action at Wits University where students are demonstrating against financial exclusion.
Nzimande is today expected to address the nation on the way forward following Wednesday’s cabinet meeting which discussed the ongoing students’ protests at tertiary institutions.
The students’ organisation’s spokesperson, Solomon Khiba, says they give the government until tomorrow [Friday] to come up with a solution to the students’ plight.
Khiba says, “For the demands to be responded to we are giving the Minister today and tomorrow failure to respond on Monday we will be going to shut down all institutions and all TVET colleges in the country.”