SAPS probe claims of student shot & wounded by officers during Wits protest

Students say the young woman was shot in the leg by police but the South African Police Service (SAPS) said all that was used on Monday was a smoke grenade and water cannon.

FILE: A small group of protesting students blocked roads with stones and rubble in Braamfontein near Wits University as part of the National Shutdown over student finances on 15 March 2021. Picture: Mia Lindeque/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Police are investigating claims that a student was wounded after being shot at by officers during a protest in Braamfontein.

Students say the young woman was shot in the leg by police but the South African Police Service (SAPS) said all that was used on Monday was a smoke grenade and water cannon.

Police are now hoping to speak to the student and look at her medical records after she was treated at hospital.

Spokesperson Vish Naidoo said: “The South African Police Service has taken note of a video and reports depicting that a female was shot during a protest in Braamfontein. The SAPS can report that none of its members deployed in Braamfontein had fired any shots during the said protest. However, in an effort to disperse volatile crowds, only a small grenade was used in one incident and water cannons in others.”

The conduct of police officers has been under scrutiny since the killing of Mthokozisi Ntumba when cops shot him during protests by wits students last week.

Ntumba was not part of the demonstrations and had just left a medical centre when he was killed on the pavement.

READ: Wits students hope Mthokozisi Ntumba's family sees justice done after arrests

Meanwhile, students from Wits and the University of Johannesburg are expected to protest again on Tuesday.

They are demanding the scrapping of historic debt and that government deliver on its promise to provide free education for poor and missing middle students.

PP VISITS TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS

Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka is at the University of Venda on Tuesday morning for a meeting with the vice chancellor, NSFAS and the South African Human Rights Commission regarding issues of access to tertiary education.

Gcaleka was due to start her tour earlier this year even before the national shutdown was announced.

She’s also expected to speak to student representatives.

The Office of Public Protectors has received eight complaints from members of the public about the financial crisis in the sector that leads to protests every year.

Spokesperson Oupa Segalwe said: “The Public Protector has decided to go out into the country to speak to a number of stakeholders in those institutions and to try and bring the parties together.”

She will later visit the University of the Free State and University of Pretoria and the Tshwane University of Technology campus in Nelspruit.

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