Family of student who lost an eye in shooting wants answers

The irreparable damage to his eye, that Thanduyise Sizwe Ngobese, an honours student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal suffered, allegedly at the hands of campus security guards, will be a constant reminder of the violence meted out to him.

It should have been a day filled with joy and a sense of pride for Ngobese, 25, after successfully registering for a postgraduate degree, a BCom honours in small business management.

But the situation quickly turned sour when security guards fired rubber bullets at protesting students wanting to gain access to the university’s Howard College campus.

During the scuffle, Ngobese was hit in the eye by a bullet and his left eye had to be removed.

He also suffered partial blindness in his other eye.

His distraught family in KwaDlangezwa in eMpangeni, northern KwaZulu-Natal, said it was difficult to come to terms with what happened to Ngobese.

“Initially he pleaded that his mother should not be told about what happened. But she kept asking about him. When she heard the tragic news, she couldn’t cope and suffered a stroke. She is in a critical condition in hospital,” said Mlungisi Mthethwa, a relative.

He said the family was now dealing with a double tragedy and was seeking answers from the university.

Mbali Zondo, EFF Student Command (EFFSC) deputy general secretary, said the tragedy was  a long time coming.

“The university has not taken responsibility. Our demands are clear, we want Sizwe to be compensated by UKZN and the university must be held to account. The same private company, Fidelity Security, is still on campus.

“We also call for the demilitarisation of our campuses. These are not security guards, they are thugs who unleash violence on students.”

She said the EFFSC had established a #JusticeforMagalobha committee to assist Ngobese

The University of KwaZulu- Natal’s corporate relations executive director, Normah Zondo, said the university would be conducting an internal investigation.

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