Man killed in Alexandra riots

Russell Grinker grinker at
Wed May 31 09:02:09 MDT 2000

The latest from Alexandra, Johannesburg, a key site of the ANC's '50s Defiance

Man killed in Alexandra riots

Angry pupils clash with police, harass journalists, petrol-bomb media cars

- Daisy Jones (BusinessDay)

VIOLENCE erupted in Alexandra yesterday after a young man, believed to be a
school pupil, was killed and several more were injured, allegedly by police who
repeatedly opened fire on a vengeful mob of youngsters. Police spokesman Insp
Willem de Villiers said nine people were admitted to Alexandra clinic with
gunshot wounds. The sister on duty at Alexandra clinic said last night that one
patient had been admitted to hospital and she was in a critical condition.
Others had been discharged during the day. De Villiers confirmed that the
youngster, who was in his early 20s, died after Alexandra police opened fire
with their 9mm pistols on a crowd of about 500 "riotous" pupils and residents.
De Villiers said the mob, which contained armed men, surrounded two police cars.
A policewoman was hit in the face with a brick during the confrontation. He said
it was not clear if the victim was a pupil. He might have been killed in a
crossfire between police and pupils. The pupils, mainly from Realogile High
School, were burning down the home of a businessman they believed killed one of
their Congress of SA Students (Cosas) leaders on Monday. Eight public order
policing unit vehicles were called in soon after the youth was killed yesterday.
Police vehicles were shot at, petrol-bombed and stoned. A pupil, who asked not
to be named, said the children ran to Roosevelt Street, a main thoroughfare in
Alexandra, because it was safer than the narrow streets. "The police were
chasing them. They were shooting at any school uniform they came across." She
said the police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. Johnny "Slovo"
Lekganyane, a Cosas spokesman, said a local police car drove into the grounds of
Realogile High and opened fire on teachers and pupils. One teacher was shot with
a rubber bullet while he was teaching a class, Lekganyane said. By lunch time
pupils had set up burning barricades in Roosevelt Street and a stone barricade
outside the school. Throughout the morning youths stoned vehicles and houses.
After an empty media car was petrol-bombed, public order police in Nyalas moved
in, firing rounds of rubber bullets at the windows and balconies of residential
buildings near the corner of 15th and Roosevelt streets. During the afternoon a
second media car was petrol-bombed, a news photographer was mugged, a journalist
was assaulted, and a third media car was damaged. A group of about 50 pupils
marched on the Alexandra police station in the mid-afternoon, threatening to
burn it down and demanded the release of their comrades who were arrested
earlier in the day. Education Minister Kader Asmal, Safety and Security Minister
Steve Tshwete, Gauteng education MEC Ignatius Jacobs and safety and liaison MEC
Nomvula Mokonyane will visit Alexandra this morning.

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