A final year medical student’s murder has prompted a request by a shocked South African Medical Association for the Presidency and Higher Education Ministry to open an inquiry into the problems at the Walter Sisulu University in Mthatha.
The Deputy Minister of Police‚ Bongani Mkongi‚ has also confirmed he is scheduled to engage Walter Sisulu University stakeholders following the murder of Lwando Mantshontsho.
Mantshontsho was murdered at his residence in Mthatha in the early hours of Friday morning after a fight broke out where students teased each other about seniority in the faculty‚ according to a ministry statement.
His alleged killers‚ fellow students‚ handed themselves to the police over the weekend. The six were denied bail on Monday when they appeared in the Mthatha Magistrate’s Court.
“The Deputy Minister is outraged about the incident‚” the ministry said‚ adding Mkongi would also visit to the home of the deceased student in Cofimvaba.
Last week‚ the university ordered all its students at Mthatha’s Nelson Mandela Drive to vacate the campus. This comes after violence escalated to a point where students were carrying guns.
University spokeswoman Yonela Tukwayo said the university had a responsibility of doing all it could to keep the students safe in the premises and the possibility of students having guns would make it impossible for the university to guarantee that safety.
“We have been informed that that students are now armed with guns. They have also burnt down the guard house‚” Tukwayo said.
The students were demanding that the university change the security guards in the campus .
The South African Medical Association (SAMA) said on Tuesday it was shocked and outraged at Mantshontsho’s death.
“The Association calls on the Minister of Higher Education‚ and the Presidency‚ to immediately initiate an inquiry into the matter.”
SAMA said a violent altercation had ensued on Thursday night between students at a party. Later‚ on Friday morning‚ the fourth and fifth-year students went to the residences of the sixth-year students‚ and stabbed three of them.
One student was killed‚ while two others remain in a serious condition in hospital‚ said SAMA.
“This type of behaviour by medical students is completely unacceptable and calls into question the processes employed in the selection of students to study Medicine in that institution.
“We are extremely concerned about what is happening on this campus‚ and have for a long time noticed a steady descent in instability. Violence and disruptions of the academic and other programmes have become the order of the day instead of education. This is worrying‚ and must be addressed urgently‚” SAMA chairman Dr Mzukisi Grootboom said.
Grootboom said an inquiry into the exact circumstances of what transpired on Friday morning‚ along with an investigation into the general situation at the campus‚ is needed urgently‚ and called on both the Minister of Higher Education and the Presidency‚ to institute an inquiry.
“There has been prolonged instability at this campus‚ and without immediate‚ and effective intervention‚ it will continue. This incident must act as a catalyst to ensure problems at this campus are dealt with‚ once and for all‚” Grootboom said.