By: Naledi Shange and Paul Herman
A clash between private and striking campus security guards broke out at the Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha on Wednesday, resulting in several injuries.Police said a stray bullet hit a student on the hand during the clash.
"The information we received was that the group of security guards... on strike entered the university through a broken fence and they were confronted by another group of security guards. One of the protesting security guards was carrying a knife and he charged at one officer. He retaliated by opening fire and the other guard was shot in the stomach," said Lieutenant Colonel Mzukisi Fatyela.
"We also heard that one student was injured. He was hit by a stray bullet on his finger," Fatyela said.
The security officer who fired the shot has since been arrested and charged with attempted murder. His firearm has been confiscated.
Claims two students shot
Students at the university, however, claim that two students were also shot.
According to posts circulating on Facebook, private security personnel made their way on to the campus on Wednesday morning, after which the alleged shooting incident is reported to have taken place.
Two students were shot and taken to hospital, the post alleged, while a further five were "kidnapped".
The incident follows the mysterious disappearance of Outsourcing Must Fall activist, Vusi Mahlangu, on Tuesday. The group claim that he has also been kidnapped and is still missing, News24 reported.
Vuyo Mntonintshi, of Outsourcing Must Fall, who spoke to News24 on Tuesday about the disappearance of Mahlangu, said he was informed by workers after the scuffle.
"The incident happened around 07:30 this morning [Wednesday]," Mntonintshi told News24. "One of them [the students] was shot with live ammunition, above the abdomen and the other was shot with rubber bullets.
"Three others were held and taken to the [police] station by the security to charge them with trespassing and attempted murder."
Mntonintshi was on campus at the time of the incident, and said he, along with other students, had tried to hide when news of the incident first broke.
He claimed campus security had to hire the private security because the contracted staff were currently on strike.
The university was not immediately available for comment.
Please help us to raise funds so that we can give all our students a chance to access online teaching and learning. Covid-19 has disrupted our students' education. Don't let the digital divide put their future at risk. Visit www.ru.ac.za/rucoronavirusgateway to donate