Witsies in campus hostage drama


by Nomatter Ndebele and Mfuneko Toyana

Members of Wits’ Law School locked themselves in a storeroom and called police after they were threatened with a gun by two men on Friday evening.

Nonkululeko Sunduza, academic officer of the law school council, said two men barged into their meeting; one of them holding what she says was a letter of admission, wanting to “know” about law.

Sunduza said one of the men was tattooed and had a gold tooth, while the other looked as if he were a “ hobo”

[pullquote align=”right”]“Ithii ngikhiphe izibhambu zam ngizonibonisa kahle” [Let me take my guns out so I can show you][/pullquote]

“I noticed that the other guy (The hobo), wasn’t really paying attention, he was just looking around” said Sunduza.

According to Sunduza the tattooed man became increasingly frustrated as he didn’t seem to understand what they were saying to him about the letter.

When they couldn’t answer his questions, he said in IsiZulu:“Ithii ngikhiphe izibhambu zam ngizonibonisa kahle” (Let me take my guns out so I can show you.)’

Sunduza screamed and told her fellow council member Lerato Thini to lock the door.

The eight council members then ran and locked themselves in the storeroom where they called Wits Campus Control. From the storeroom, Sunduza said she heard the men say: “We have to do this … we’ve been in cells together”

[pullquote]”Eight policemen arrived armed with rifles.”[/pullquote]

She said she also heard one guy explaining to the other how to use a gun. “Kufanele kuqhume isbhamu” (A gun must go off).

Fearing that Campus Control was taking too long to respond, the hotages called the police.

Senior investigating officer at Campus Control, Michael Mahada, told Wits Vuvuzela that he arrived on the scene and found Sunduza and Thini outside talking to Campus Control officers.

He said a few minutes later, about eight policemen arrived armed with rifles.

Mahada said one of the first things he noticed was a bag laying in the hallway with its contents scattered all around.

“There were some study guides of some sort, some clothing, and other documents”, Mahada said.

The “documents” turned out to be a letter from Wits acknowledging one of the men’s application to study at the University, as well as other personal papers.

Mahada said there was no gun in the bag or amongst the scattered items.

[pullquote align=”right”]She also told Mahada that her son was “not right”.[/pullquote]

“At first I thought the stuff belonged to a student. When I asked the suspect he couldn’t explain himself.”

Mahada said he then called one of the numbers on the documents, and the woman who answered said she was the suspects’ mother.

She also told Mahada that her son was “not right”.

Mahada said Campus Control would be looking at CCTV footage as they continue to investigate.

Constable Mduduzi Zondo of the Hillbrow Police station confirmed that a case of intimidation has been opened against the suspect, after he was apprehended on campus by the police.

The suspect remains in custody and is set to appear in a Hillbrow court tomorrow.

His accomplice ran away and has yet to been found.

Related Stories: