Wits University students protest on 11 March in Johannesburg.
OJ Koloti/Gallo Images via Getty Images
- The police used teargas to disperse protesting Wits and University of Johannesburg students on Monday.
- They traced and interviewed a student who reported being shot in the leg during the chaos.
- IPID is now investigating the incident.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) says it will investigate the circumstances that resulted in the shooting of a 20-year-old student, allegedly by police officers during protests in Johannesburg on Monday.
According to police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo, a case of attempted murder had now been opened after the student was traced and interviewed on Tuesday.
Naidoo said during an interview with her, the student alleged she and a male friend were picked up by police who were travelling in a marked vehicle.
She said when they dropped them off near Braamfontein Cemetery an altercation ensued between herself and an officer.
“She further alleged that she was then forced out of the police vehicle and subsequently shot in her leg,” said Naidoo.
“This incident happened in an area where no student protests were taking place. The police officers against whom this allegation is being levelled have not yet been identified.”
IPID spokesperson Ndileka Cola said while the directorate was investigating the case, there was “not much” details about it yet.
Cola added IPID would release an update later to outline what exactly it would probe.
On Monday, the police denied claims its members had fired at protesters, News24 reported.
In a statement at the time, Naidoo said: “In an effort to disperse volatile crowds, only a smoke grenade was used in one incident and water cannons in other.”
Wits University and University of Johannesburg students were protesting in the streets on Monday when chaos erupted as they approached the M1 from the UJ Bunting Campus.
The police used teargas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.
The chaos continued in Braamfontein, thereafter, where the student with a wound on her leg was later found.
News24 was in the vicinity when a vehicle was arranged to transport her to hospital.
She was attended to by medics on Jorrisen Street shortly after the protesters were teargassed again. She was bleeding from an open wound.
News24 could also hear shots going off. It was unclear what type they were.
Students, who were in the vicinity, alleged the wound was caused by live ammunition. Four students were also arrested during the commotion.
Naidoo said national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole viewed the case seriously and had sanctioned a departmental investigation.
“The management of the SAPS would like to reiterate its position that members of the SAPS are always encouraged to conduct themselves in a professional manner and to execute their duties within the boundaries of the law.
“Should any of our members exceed the boundaries of the law in any situation then such members would be required to account for their actions both criminally as well as departmentally.”