'A life gone, just like that': SA outraged by Wits protest shooting

11 March 2021 - 11:04
A man died during violent clashes between the police and protesting Wits University students in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on Wednesday.
A man died during violent clashes between the police and protesting Wits University students in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, on Wednesday.
Image: Alon Skuy/ Sunday Times

The hashtag #WitsProtest topped the trending list on Wednesday as news emerged that a bystander had been shot dead, allegedly by police, during a protest over university fees.

According to authorities, the 35-year-old man was struck twice by rubber bullets and succumbed to his injuries.

Multiple videos and images were circulated on social media showing the man’s last moments lying on the pavement.

Netcare 911 spokesperson Shawn Herbst said the man was shot as he left a clinic in Braamfontein and died at the scene.

TimesLIVE reported that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) was probing the death.

The University of the Witwatersrand said it was saddened to learn about the death and called on all people to keep calm.

“Wits University is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a 35-year-old man in the Braamfontein CBD outside the institution this morning.

“The university extends its condolences to the family of the deceased. We condemn any form of violence and call on all persons to keep calm during this very difficult time,” said the university.

The university said it had made available health and counselling services to students and members of the community who require assistance.

“Queries directly related to this incident should be directed to the SAPS, as they were on the scene and were managing the matter as a public order incident. We are continuing to seek further information on this matter.

“We note with deep concern the escalation of the situation, which is regrettable, and we call on all persons to remain calm. We remain committed to seeking creative, peaceful solutions to any outstanding issues in the higher education sector.”

On social media, many expressed grief over the protest and the killing of the man.

Here is a snapshot of what was said.


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