/ 10 March 2021

Man killed by police during Wits student protest

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About 50 Wits students are blocking De Beer Street in Braamfontein, where a man was shot and killed by police during a student protest

For the past three weeks, students at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits)  have been protesting against the financial exclusion of students who owe the university outstanding fees; one of their demands is that the university allow all students with historical debt to register.

This morning scenes of protesting students being dispersed by rubber bullets fired by the police played out in Braamfontein.

A man was killed on the scene after he was caught in a clash between police and the protesting students. Eyewitnesses allege that the man was walking out of a clinic, in the opposite direction from the protesting students, when police started firing rubber bullets at him. Eyewitnesses say the man approached the police and asked why he was being shot, but they continued shooting.

The protesting students have said that they will not leave De Beer Street until police leadership in Gauteng comes and addresses them and accounts for why the man was killed.

There are tensions in the higher-education sector over funding issues. On Monday, Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande said the National Student Financial Aid Scheme is experiencing a shortfall and that is why it has failed to confirm funding for first-year university students. Nzimande said his department and the treasury were working at finding solutions for the crisis, and that they would present the options to the cabinet on Wednesday.