Protesting Wits students want killers of an innocent man held accountable

The 35-year-old man was shot and killed on Wednesday when police fired rubber bullets at a group of students.

A large group of South African Police Service (SAPS) officers disperse a group of students who were blocking roads during a protest in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on 10 March 2021. Picture: Emmanuel Croset/AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Protesting Wits University students are calling for Police Minister Bheki Cele to take urgent action against those responsible for the death of an innocent man in Braamfontein.

The 35-year-old man was shot and killed on Wednesday when police fired rubber bullets at a group of students.

They were protesting against the long-standing issue of student debt.

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is investigating the incident.

Protesting Wits University students are demanding answers from Police Minister Bheki Cele as to why an innocent man was killed during what they’ve described as a peaceful protest against the financial exclusion of their peers with historical debt.

READ: Police accused of heavy-handedness after man killed in Wits student protests

One student who witnessed the shooting of the man said he had been left angry by the treatment of police officers against protestors and bystanders.

“I even walked and approached them, and one police said to me 'it’s not my responsibility to call an ambulance'.”

READ: 'He was gasping': Doctor recalls trying to save student protest shooting victim

WATCH: #Asinamali​: Students protest in Braamfontein

Students want Cele to account for what they describe as the blatant heavy-handedness of officers.

As students prepare to resume their protest over financial exclusion, Wits University vice-chancellor Zeblon Vilakazi on Thursday said the country was battling a national problem when it came to issues around fees and registration.

“I think every institution in the country is having concerns with that. There is a conversation in place between all universities and government.”

He's confirmed Wits has already registered 95% of its 2021 cohort.

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