One person has been killed on Wednesday after South African police fired rubber bullets to disperse a group of student protesters, at Wits University in Johannesburg.
Spokeswoman for the Wits University, Shirona Patel told AFP that: “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,”
It was reported that the killing of the “passerby” further enraged the protesting students who gathered near the lifeless body of the victim and demanding, at the top of their voices, that police personnel leave the area. A student was reported screaming “Kill all of us”.
However, Spokeswoman Patel confirmed that the victim of the shootout was not a student of the university.
In early January, Wits University students began series of protests against government’s action that allegedly excluded some students by a government-sponsored tuition aid scheme.
The students, who vowed to continue their protest against the financial exclusion of students in the university are demands that Wits University allows all students with outstanding debt to register for the 2021 academic year.
The university authority however argued that the institution of learning will however become financially unsustainable if it continues to accept students who have historical debt.
According to the university, outstanding fees owed has accumulated to R1 billion over the past seven years.
Wits University added that it has made available R20 million for indigent students who are facing financial hardship and R100 million has been allocated to financial aid through bursaries and scholarships.
Student’s representative put the number of students that are still not registered at about 80, 000 as a result of the “financial exclusion problem”.
They are demanding that those who owe the university up to 150,000 rand ($9,850) in fees still be allowed to register for the new academic year.