Durban – Standing on the steps where Mlungisi Madonsela was shot, Sfezo Gwala said his friend was among the EFF members fighting for the betterment of students and the insourcing of security guards.
There is still a trace of blood on the stairs, where flowers have since been placed in memory of the 20-year-old.
Madonsela was a third-year business administration student from Jozini, northern KwaZulu-Natal. His family learnt about his death on social media and declined media interviews.
DUT’s vice-chancellor Professor Thandwa Mthembu said he was “truly sorry” about the student’s death and the way in which his family learnt about it. The university would assist with funeral arrangements.
Gwala, the deputy secretary-general of the EFF-led student representatives council (SRC) shared a room with Madonsela on the last night of his life.
“Because of the protest, everything was in chaos and we ended up sleeping in the same room. I was with him on that day, before he died,” Gwala said.
Madonsela saved Gwala from potential arrest. “He told me security and police were identifying people to arrest. His last words to me were ‘Run, they are looking for you’.
“Then he gave me his phone to use as my phone battery had died. That was the last time I saw him alive,” said Gwala.
It’s alleged that two private security guards used live ammunition to fire at students.
Gwala and several other students told the Sunday Tribune there was no warning before the guards opened fire.
Madonsela was taken to City Hospital where he died.
Two guards from Xcellent Security, hired by DUT, were taken in for questioning by police and later suspended by the company, said the university.
Calls to the company’s owner went unanswered.
Mthembu said the security guards were never meant to deal with students. “There is a team of 250 security guards across seven campuses. Only six of them carry guns to address muggings, and attacks by criminals on students in the area. (On Tuesday) there was a radio call to the central command of the security team that they were being attacked with bricks and stones. A number of guards responded and that’s when the shooting took place.”
The Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) spokesperson, Siziwe Zuma, said they were investigating Xcellent Security.
On Saturday, there was a moment of silence to mourn Madonsela’s death at a book launch hosted by DUT in uMhlanga.
A memorial service would be held at 1pm on Tuesday at a venue still to be announced.