Nzimande extends condolences to family of TUT student

Nzimande extends condolences to family of TUT student

Higher education minister Blade Nzimande has extended his condolences to the family of a Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) student who was killed at a protest on Thursday.

Blade Nzimande_gcis
Photo: GCIS

Student leader Benjamin Phehla died after a car crashed into a crowd of protesting students in Soshanguve.

"We have indeed learnt with sadness of the unfortunate passing of Mr Phehla, a student who was looking forward to a bright future as a professional. We pass our heartfelt condolences and sympathies to the family," Nzimande says. 

Students are protesting for free higher education. 

Nzimande cautions the public to be extra vigilant when travelling in areas surrounding universities.

Higher education ministry spokesperson Harold Maloka says: "We cannot afford to lose one more life. Every life is precious."

Meanwhile, Nzimande has called for calm. 

"We believe that the current impasse can be resolved through dialogue and not through violence."

Several Wits students, including student leader Shaeera Kalla, were injured after police fired rubber bullets at a group of protestors.

READ ALSO: SAPS investigating Wits shooting

In a Facebook post, Kalla confirmed she had been shot more than 10 times.

"I was shot 13 times in the back, at a very close range in a targeted attack on students. I am currently in hospital and I will have to stay in according to the doctors," she posted. 

READ ALSO: Students threaten legal action against police

Police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is investigating the incident.

"We are pleased that the matter has been reported to Ipid and we call on the police to exercise maximum restraint and operate within the law," Nzimande says. 

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