Finance Minister Tito Mboweni caused a Twitter frenzy when he Tweeted that the Wits shooting that left one man dead was “fake news” on Wednesday.
Students were seen expressing their anger in this video that was posted on Twitter by @KatSekhoto shortly after the man was shot and killed.
Mboweni had tweeted that “My information is that there Was no student who was killed! Fake news circulating. No deserving student will be left out. Minister Ndzimande will deal with matter tomorrow.”
What really happened was that a civilian, who was apparently not part of the student protests got caught up in the crowd and was shot in the fracas as police were managing the situation. The Independent Police Investigative Directorate said it had sent a team to investigate at the scene of the Wits shooting.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema was quick to fire emotively back at Mboweni with a strong correction.
“Life was lost during the peaceful student’s protest, which is not fake news. We know you don’t care, but some empathy will be beneficial now, Tito!!!”
@Thuso1Africa was next to reply to Mboweni regarding the Wits shooting, remarking that “the point is not about whether it was a student or not. A black person was murdered by your administration as a result of students protesting for education. A life was lost. Get it?”
Before the Wits shooting students had been protesting about issues related to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) as well as historical debt and were calling for the registration of all students regardless of how much they owed the university. The violent protests started earlier in the week with students blockading roads, leading to the Wits shooting outside the campus on Wednesday.
@thabo_shingange told Mboweni that “ It is UR austerity measures which has led to this. Before you tweet, remind itself why are students across higher education institutions protesting: Why did you cut R6.8 billion from NSFAS & R24 billion from higher Ed? Someone died today…”
Several Tweeple also posted photographs of the Sekekal protests and alleged that the police dealt differently with protestors along colour lines.
One of these was @AdvoBarryRoux who Tweeted: