A five-year-old child was reportedly hit by a rubber bullet outside the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) Soshanguve campus, north of Pretoria, on Thursday.
It is alleged security guards were trying to disperse #FeesMustFall protesters outside the campus when the protest turned violent, Rekord North reported.
The security guards opened fire with rubber bullets and the boy was hit. It is unclear where the boy was when he was struck.
As some protesters cut through homes, the guards had followed them, apparently shooting at random.
Protest leader and deputy president of the university’s student representative council (SRC), Sthembiso Ka Shandu, said he did not have much information about the boy’s condition.
The boy was rushed to a nearby hospital by his mother and other residents.
“We were protesting peacefully when a group of armed security guards fired at us. We were not armed and we did not instigate any violence,” he said.
He said four students were also struck by rubber bullets.
TUT spokesperson Willa de Ruyter said she was not clear on what had happened, but confirmed an incident had been reported to university management.
“We are currently investigating the matter and more information will be released later,” she said.
“Water cannons and rubber bullets were used by the security personnel to disperse the protesting students,” added Ruyter.
This comes after almost two weeks of peaceful protesting by the students and members of the SRC who were demanding tuition fees and historical debts be scrapped, and for students to register without paying the registration fee.
Registration was meant to resume on Thursday but was cancelled due to the protest.
“Registration cannot continue while the majority of students are not allowed to register because they owe the university,” said Shandu.
This after seven security guards were injured and taken to hospital as violence broke out during the ongoing #OutsourcingMustFall protests at TUT’s Pretoria West campus on Tuesday.
Netcare 911 spokesperson Athlenda Mathe said the guards were treated before being taken to a nearby hospital.
De Ruyter said the scuffle broke out at the entrance to the university where protesters were standing.
– Caxton News Service