One Person Dies Amid Students Protest in South Africa


On Wednesday, students from the Wits University in Johannesburg took to the streets, protesting unjust institutional policies. The protests first kicked off in early January this year after many students were not able to continue learning because they were denied registration for their next academic year. The incident was quite unfortunate, considering Wits is a government-sponsored institution with a capacity to cater to its scholars.

The Protests

Clashes broke out when state officers came to disperse the rioting students. It was quite a mayhem as people were running helter-skelter screaming to the top of their voices. Amid the strike, one person succumbed after being hit by a live bullet. Sources allege that a South African officer was responsible for the assassination.

Mrs. Shirona Patel, the University’s spokeswoman, told the media that the victim who got shot in the crossfire was not a student of theirs but rather a passerby. Similarly, Wits University extended its condolences to the family of the 35-year-old who died during the strike.

“My understanding so far is that the protestors blocked a public road, the police tried to disperse them, and the passerby was shot in the crossfire,” she told AFP.

The protestors were outraged by the incident; most of them surrounded the lifeless body and started shouting at the officers, voices full of resilience to desert the area. Similarly, a student was heard shouting at the officers to kill them. It was a dramatic and emotional moment.

Why Were the Students Protesting?

Many South African students from Wits university have not been able to continue with their studies because of their outstanding debts. There are some unable to enroll for their final semesters because of pending debts. Following the issue at hand, students from Wits vowed to continue with the demonstrations.

The University management claims if they continue hosting students with massive fee arrears, then Wits would no doubt enter an economic dilemma. And a financially unstable university is likely to collapse cause everything in the institution is literary dependent on money. The University reported that its students own it at about R1 billion. The latter has accumulated over the past seven years because of the unpaid school fees.

Wits University has also announced availing about R20 million for students with financial difficulties. Alternatively, the institution released over R 100 million, allocated in the form of bursaries and scholarships. The University is saddened that most students cannot afford their fees despite their extended aid.

When reporters questioned the students, they claimed that they wanted all students to resume their studies, including those who owed the institution up to 9850 dollars, i.e., 150000 Rands. According to the student leader, approximately 80000 students were not registered in the University because of their vast debt. Since paying school fees is as vital as completing studies, the institution should work swiftly to provide both parties’ universal solution.

And if need be, the South African government should intervene, considering Wits is a state property. Currently, the institution expects to resume its activities usually as it solves the issue at hand.



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