Mlungisi Madonsela, 21, was fatefully shot on 5 February 2019 at the DUT Steve Biko Campus by a private security guard during a mass meeting at DUT demanding Free Registration for students, and Free Education. In June, the investigation into the death of Madonsela was closed by the NPA with no arrests being made due to a lack of sufficient evidence. However, the decision by the NPA has changed following a student march led by EFFSC on the 5th August 2019.
In a statement, EFFSC said the march was the first of many steps they will be taking to ensure justice for Mlungisi. They also called out the militarization of campuses by private security companies. At the Durban City Hall students handed over a memorandum of demands to NPA officials which include the re-opening of the investigation and the following:
- Prosecution of those Involved. Security guard as well as the University to take responsibility, and the investigation officer for the case to be suspended.
- Removal of Excellent Security Company from the University, and its de-registration from PSIRA.
- NPA to instruct University to terminate contract with Excellent
- An end to the victimization and suspension of protesting students
Members of Mlungisi’s family have voiced their disappointment in the country’s justice system. No arrests have been made even though it is known that the private security company said to have used live ammunition that ended the life of Mlungisi is TLG Excellent Security, owned by Xolani George. Mlungisi, who was a third year Business Administration Student and member of the EFFSC has been hailed for ‘fighting for the black child’. Many attended his memorial service and funeral earlier this year.
Under the #DUTShooting, messages calling for justice, criticizing the use of force on campuses and honoring the life of Mlungisi have been shared across social media platforms by members of the public including activists, Members of Parliament such as Naledi Chirwa and organisations such as the Steve Biko Foundation.
Mlungisi is not the first to have lost his life due to the militarization of University Campuses since the eruption of #FeesMustFall in 2015. Katlego Monareng was killed in August 2018 at the Soshanguve North campus during protests over the alleged rigging of SRC elections when police were called onto campus. Two policemen were arrested and released on R2000 bail each. Their case is still ongoing.
On Wednesday DUT said it would call on experts to investigate the violence that lead to the death and injuries of students and staff. The inquiry is expected to report back to the institution by November and will be headed by Judge Khayelihle Mthiyane, former deputy president of Supreme Court of Appeals, and Muxe Mondo, former VC of University of Venda.
By Refentse Thathe