MPs to summon private security firms over DUT student's death
The use of force to control protesting students must stop, education committee chair Connie September said on Wednesday.
MPs in the parliamentary portfolio committee on higher education and training condemned the death of a student at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) on Tuesday. The student died in hospital. It is unclear how he was shot, as he was in the middle of clashes between rival groups of students and with private security.
Sending condolences to family and students who witnessed the shooting, September said in a statement that it was a tragedy to lose a student in this way.
"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," she said.
"The private security regulatory body should also investigate improved methods of controlling students when they protest on campuses."
The education committee 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 also called on university councils, the department of higher education and training and all student bodies to seek solutions in a manner that will allow for peaceful protests.
"University campuses cannot become war zones in this new democracy and the committee welcomes initiatives to engage students to find solutions," September said.
"Institutions must do what they can in the present to ensure a smoother registration and new year."