Bloody sand marks student’s death

One hundred metres from the Tshwane University of Technology’s (TUT) gate and across the road lies a mound of dirt — sand that has been kicked across the bloody stain where Katlego Monareng was shot and killed.

Reaction to last week’s death of the 26-year-old law student, who was allegedly shot by police during a student protest over student representative council elections,has drawn strong reaction from the university. But outside of TUT, his killing has drawn muted reactions from the higher education community.

“No stone will be left unturned to get to the bottom of alleged election irregularities that led to the disruptions and the subsequent shooting,” said vice-chancellor Lourens van Staden.

On Wednesday, students took to the streets of Pretoria, to “garner public sympathy to force the minister of police to give this issue special attention”, said Sthembiso KaShandu, a member of the South African Democratic Student Movement, the student wing of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Who was responsible for Monareng’s death is still being determined. According to police statements, when officers left the scene no one had been injured.


Elections had gone well until 7pm when, according to the university’s management, the external company providing support ran out of blank ballot papers. Students alleged that the ballot papers had been tampered with.

KaShandu said that, by this time, about 50% of the two campuses — north and south Soshanguve — had voted. He added that voting had taken a long time because there were only four polling stations between the two campuses, which, he said, was better than in previous years when there were only two stations.

A student, Sduduzo Zulu, said one of the electoral officials was seen going to a grey Mercedes-Benz at four in the afternoon. The car allegedly belonged to an ANC member. When the official was questioned by students, he ran and students chased after him, according to Zulu.

KaShandu added: “Then there was a scuffle between the students and this man who was allegedly trying to rig elections.”

Police were called to the scene — TUT management had briefed them earlier that the elections were taking place— and they began to disperse the crowd outside the north campus.

“There were police on the campus trying to save the situation and to make sure the situation is calm,” said KaShandu. But after the police started firing live ammunition, students “scattered”.

The road outside the north campus has an incline. According to another student, Troy Mkhize, the police were positioned on the road’s incline, and the students were trying to move down the road.

KaShandu said: “It was elections, there were too many students there.” Monareng was among hundreds of students fleeing from the police — first from a stun grenade and then live ammunition.

“That is when we came to the situation that Katlego Monareng was shot and killed at the scene,” KaShandu said.

Monareng hadn’t moved more than a 100m from the university’s gate when he was shot in the neck.

The university and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) have initiated separate investigations. The university is looking into what led to the protests and the Ipid into the cause of Monareng’s death.

“The findings of investigations into Monareng’s death and the forensic investigation instituted by [the university] into the alleged election irregularities will go a long way to ensure accountability,” said Van Staden.

According to Ipid spokesperson Moses Dlamini, a postmortem examination was conducted last Friday but the results have not yet been released.

He added that the directorate said it takes six weeks to finalise the results of a ballistic report.

KaShandu and four other students said Monareng had died by the time the ambulance arrived.

Bonginkosi Khanyile, prominent fees must fall activist, said that what happened last Thursday was a “microcosm” of the struggle between students and police.

TUT students have been at the forefront of the fees protests for more than 20 years, well before the #FeesMustFall movement was popularised in 2015.

KaShandu believes the violence was unpre­cedented: “We never thought the day would end with him [Monareng] not even knowing if his structure had won the election or not.”

Monareng was a member of the Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania and completing his third year of law.

The students want answers but they also want to give Monareng a “decent send-off”, said KaShandu.

Monareng’s funeral will be held at Bushbuckridge town in Mpumalanga on Saturday. Although SRCs have not been vocal about the death of Monareng, SRC members of the universities of the Witwatersrand and Cape Town (UCT) are planning to attend the burial.

“We are very saddened by the media coverage because I am sure that if it was happening at UCT the entire media would be starstruck about the brutality of students being killed in daylight by live ammunition in the university space,” said Masixole Mlandu, vice-president of the SRC at UCT.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

‘Super-Wednesday’ by-elections: all the data and who is contesting what

In this week’s by-elections, the ANC has the highest number of wards being contested. However, the turnout in some communities in areas in the Vaal district has been low — even after the electoral commission said it was ready to welcome voters

Budget 2020: Sympathy for Mboweni from opposition as Cosatu rattles sabers

Political parties want more details on SOE bailouts, wage cutbacks

Leader’s principal aim to build IFP

Gravitas: Velenkosini Hlabisa brings his experience to his new post as leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Buthelezi’s succession sparks democracy debate

The IFP's constitution provides that the nomination of national office bearers be approved by the branches. This was not done for its new president

The art of flouting security

The Gauteng DOE has ticked all the boxes in terms of security for its schools. Yet,there has been a seeming increase in incidents at schools

Inkatha Freedom Party disputes M&G Ingonyama report

The IFP responds to the Mail & Guardian about an article it published in its August 8 to 15 edition on the establishment of the Ingonyama Trust
Advertising

Subscribers only

Covid-19 surges in the Eastern Cape

With people queuing for services, no water, lax enforcement of mask rules and plenty of partying, the virus is flourishing once again, and a quarter of the growth is in the Eastern Cape

Ace prepares ANC branches for battle

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is ignoring party policy on corruption-charged officials and taking his battle to branch level, where his ‘slate capture’ strategy is expected to leave Ramaphosa on the ropes

More top stories

Under cover of Covid, Uganda targets LGBTQ+ shelter

Pandemic rules were used to justify a violent raid on a homeless shelter in Uganda, but a group of victims is pursuing a criminal case against the perpetrators

JJ Rawlings left an indelible mark on Ghana’s history

The air force pilot and former president used extreme measures, including a coup, enforced ‘discipline’ through executions, ‘disappearances’ and floggings, but reintroduced democracy

Sudan’s government gambles over fuel-subsidy cuts — and people pay...

Economists question the manner in which the transitional government partially cut fuel subsidies

Traditional healers need new spaces

Proper facilities supported by well-researched cultural principles will go a long way to improving the image and perception of the practice of traditional medicine
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…