Probe to be launched into student leader shooting

The police have been urged to practice restraint when dealing with students

Acting National Police Commissioner Khomotso Phahlane has asked for an investigation to be launched to look into what led to the shooting of a former Wits student leader.

The commissioner has also asked for the police to go and assess the extent of injuries sustained by students.

Former Wits Student Representative Council leader Shaeera Kalla was shot in the back 13 times at close range with rubber bullets by police at Wits University on Thursday. Kalla and another student, Busisiwe Seabe, were taken to hospital.

READ MORE: Former Wits student leader shot nine times

“The Provincial Commissioner of Gauteng, Lieutenant General Deliwe De Lange, was dispatched to the hospital to visit the injured student and she confirmed that injuries had been sustained,” says a police statement.

The police have also been urged to practice restraint when dealing with students.

“Our approach and management of the situation around campuses must be characterised by discipline and the proportional use of force.

“The SAPS has noted with concern that, despite efforts made by all involved, unruly elements continue to disrupt classes and examinations, destroy university infrastructure and conduct themselves so as to provoke the police,” said Brigadier Sally de Beer in a statement.

The  Independent Police Investigative Directorate will also be looking into the issue.

“Any police officer found to have contravened the law will be dealt with accordingly,” De Beer says.

READ MORE: Zuma to meet with student leaders

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Kalla thanked her fellow students for messages of support they sent her while in hospital. Kalla believes that the police are targeting students.

“I have heard of other comrades assisting an injured student and being told by the police to leave her or face being shot at by rubber bullet (sic). Comrade Busisiwe Seabe, who helped me to get away after the first few shots, is also in hospital as you all know,” Shaeera said in her post.

“In extreme pain in the emergency section the hospital; I was greeted by three policemen, who demanded I provide them with a statement.”

Shaeera has, however, vowed to continue the fight for free education.

Meanwhile, President Jacob Zuma said the government was looking at a permanent solution for the fees issue.

READ MORE: Students to ask justice minister to release Mcebo Dlamini

“We have been doing everything possible to assist students from poor households to attain post-school education since 1994. We are however aware that more needs to be done,” Zuma said recently.

He added that the government had committed to paying 2017 fee increases for poor students and the missing middle – students whose families have a household income of up to R600 000 per year.