Our universities must be gun-free zones - EFF

The EFF has blamed the ANC government for the death of a student, who was allegedly shot by police at the Tshwane University of Technology's Soshanguve campus, in Pretoria.

The student was allegedly shot amid allegations of vote rigging just before voting stations closed during the campus' Student Representative Council (SRC) elections on Thursday night.

"It is no doubt that if the ANC government is not imprisoning students, they send police to use live ammunition on them," EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi said in a statement. 

"Our universities must be gun free zones. Society must stand against armed men and women entering university campuses as this leads to violence and death."

Ndlozi called for an urgent investigation to establish who shot the student and that those responsible be brought to book. 

In a statement, the ANC said they were deeply concerned by allegations that there might have been use of live ammunition by police. 

"As a matter of principle, under no circumstances should live ammunition be used on campus," said ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe. 

"We are confident that the law-enforcement agencies will leave no stone unturned in the investigation of the circumstances surrounding this sad incident."

Mabe urged students and university authorities alike to ensure that elections for SRC are conducted peacefully and with integrity, and also called on authorities to respect students' right to legitimately protest.

"Our institutions of learning must be homes for political tolerance and free democratic engagements. Our commitment to freedom of expression and the right to protest must also find practical expression at these institutions of higher learning."

On Saturday morning, the DA and its student organisation picketed outside of the Soshanguve police station in protest against the shooting. 

DA MP Natasha Mazzone said the picket was to vent their anger and frustration at the loss of life which she deemed to be an unnecessary use of force against a student.

"Under no circumstances should live ammunition ever been used to disperse crowds at the TUT campus in Soshanguve," said Mazzone in a soundbite. 

"We are here today to tell the police that young people want books and not bullets."

News24 previously reported that the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) is investigating whether the student was killed by police as alleged. 

IPID spokesperson Moses Dlamini said, according to the police, they were called to the scene after a presiding officer was allegedly held hostage and assaulted by students. Police officers then drove to the campus in 10 vehicles and were able to rescue the presiding officer.

On their way out, about 200 students had barricaded the entrance of the campus.

"The police reported that they fired at the ground with R5 rifles, and that when they left no one was injured, but police vehicles were damaged. The police were later informed that a student had been shot and injured," Dlamini said.

The student died on the way to hospital.