TUT dismisses claims that police fired the shot that killed varsity student

A student was shot dead at the Tshwane University of Technology Soshanguve campus.
A student was shot dead at the Tshwane University of Technology Soshanguve campus.
Image: 123RF/ Markus Schnessl

Management of the Tshwane University of Technology broke their silence on Friday afternoon following the death of a student at the Soshanguve campus – saying they were shocked at the killing.

The student was shot dead on Thursday evening.

"Vice-Chancellor and Principal‚ Prof Lourens van Staden‚and the executive management committee have expressed shock at the death of a student outside the Soshanguve North Campus last night‚" said University spokesperson Willa de Rutyer.

As TUT campuses held their Student Representative Council (SRC) elections on Thursday‚ disruptions occurred quite early on in the vote casting at the Soshanguve and Ga-Rankuwa campuses‚ she said.

"According to reports received‚ the SRC elections at the Soshanguve north and south campuses experienced problems because of a shortage of ballot papers‚ as well as suspicions that an official was taking ballot papers when he moved to supply another voting station‚" said de Ruyter.

"This resulted in confrontations between a group of about 300 students and damage to property at the Soshanguve South Campus. The students then moved to the north campus‚ where the presiding officer was assaulted. The SAPS had to intervene in an attempt to diffuse the situation on campus.

"In a shooting incident outside the campus‚ a student suffered a fatal wound."

While students had accused the police of firing the fatal shot‚ de Ruyter said reports they have received suggested otherwise.

"The shooting took place quite a distance from where the SAPS were dispersing the protesting group of students‚" said de Ruyter.

She said the name of the student would be released once his family had been informed. TUT would be helping the family with burial costs.

De Ruyter said a "full-scale forensic investigation" into the SRC elections and the death of the student was underway.

Meanwhile‚ activities at the Soshanguve and Ga-Rankuwa campuses have been suspended until Monday.

"The University management will deliberate the possibility of re-running the elections‚" de Ruyter said.

The ANC had also weighed in on the incident‚ saying it needed answers as to why the police used live ammunition on the students.

"The ANC is deeply concerned by allegations that there might have been use of live ammunition by police. As a matter of principle‚ under no circumstances should live ammunition be used on campus‚" said spokesperson Pule Mabe.

He called for an urgent probe into the incident‚ while conveying the ANC's condolences to the student's family.

Earlier‚ the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) told TimesLIVE that it was probing the incident. The watchdog body stated that police had so far claimed no responsibility for the student’s death.

"The police reported that they fired at the ground with R5 rifles and that when they left no one was injured‚ but police vehicles were damaged‚" said spokesperson Moses Dlamini.

"The police [claimed they] were later informed that a student had been shot and injured. The student died in an ambulance en-route to hospital on the R80 road. Police firearms were seized for ballistics testing. The post mortem will be held on August 24 2018 at Ga-Rankuwa Mortuary‚" said Dlamini.

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