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Police intervene in standoff between EFF and ANC student bodies

Twenty-one-year-old Mlungisi Madonsela was shot during the commission at the Durban University of Technology on Tuesday.

FILE: A screengrab of members of EFF student reps demonstrating at the Durban University of Technology following the death of Mlungisi Madonsela. Picture: EWN

DURBAN/JOHANNESBURG - Police have had to intervene between Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and African National Congress (ANC) student bodies who are holding separate media briefings on the death of a student.

The standoff came just minutes after the EFF-led student representative council (SRC) concluded its briefing on Tuesday’s shooting at one of the Durban University of Technology’s (DUT) campuses which left a student dead.

It’s understood EFF demonstrators had gathered on campus to discuss a way forward on their role in the planned nationwide universities shut down when a scuffle broke out.

Twenty-one-year-old Mlungisi Madonsela was shot during the commission at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) on Tuesday.

EFF students have been demonstrating near the scene of Tuesday’s shooting, where Madonsela was caught up in the clashes.

SRC president Sesiyanda Godlimpi says students are being killed, beaten and terrorised by people who are meant to be their parents.

“Students are being arrested, shot or killed by their own parents who are security guards and police.”

Not long after Wednesday morning’s EFF briefing, South African Students Congress (Sasco) and the ANC Youth League tried to hold their own press conference on Madonsela’s death.

But a few minutes in, Sasco leader Mqondisi Duma was interrupted.

Police have now formed a barrier line between the two groups to prevent an escalation in tensions.

PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANIES TO APPEAR BEFORE PARLIAMENT

The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education and Training will ask private security companies to appear before Parliament to account for their actions after Madonsela was shot and killed.

A private security guard apparently opened fire during a scuffle with students on Tuesday. The students were angry at the exclusion of those with historic debt from registration as well as a lack of accommodation.

“The committee calls for a thorough investigation into the cause of the death of the student, especially the use of live ammunition and who gave the order to shoot. The private security regulatory body should also investigate improved methods of controlling students when they protest on campuses.”

The committee issued a statement on Wednesday indicating they will confer with the Portfolio Committee on Police to investigate security companies’ capacity to control crowds and to determine if these companies overstep their mandate, in relation to the powers and responsibilities of the police.

September said the committee will ask private security companies to appear before Parliament to account for their actions.

“The committee calls upon university councils, the Department of Higher Education and Training and all student bodies to seek solutions in a manner that will allow a peaceful settlement. University campuses cannot become war zones in this new democracy and the committee welcomes initiatives to engage students to find solutions.”

September says it is a tragedy to lose a student in this way and that the use of force to control protesting students must stop.

“Institutions must do what they can in the present to ensure a smoother registration and new year.”

The committee sent its condolences to the bereaved family, the university community and those who witnessed the incident.

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