Twenty-one-year-old Kelvin Baloyi, a first-year student at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) would be preparing for his first major BSc Computer Science and Informatics exams, were he not killed on Saturday morning, allegedly by a private security guard in plainclothes.
Baloyi was shot at an annual year-end party hosted by property company Afhco, which recently took over the residence known as 81 Rissik. The Miss and Mr Yard 2016 competition was also taking place at the time.
According to a student who lives at the residence, Magnificent Mndebele, it was a normal evening until tragedy struck at around 2am.
“The event was attended by students from the residence and officials from Afhco who recently took over the running and ownership of the building. After the formalities, students continued to party,” he said.
He said the music was switched off at around 1am when students looked for another venue to move the party to.
“We have a common area on res with a TV where students go to chill and students went up there before 2am but were prevented entrance by two security guards and a man in plain clothes,” he said.
Mndebele said students were angered by this and confronted guards, who retaliated. The confrontation took place near the staircase on the building’s 14th floor. According to Tracey Lomax, an attorney who has consulted with eye witnesses, Baloyi was part of that confrontation with the plainclothes security guard.
“I got there just as the man drew his gun and shot Kelvin in the face. Students said he had been slapping them around and asked them to go back to their rooms,” he said. According to Mndebele, there were about 20-30 students gathered at the time.
He said Baloyi immediately fell to the ground after being shot, and died on the scene.
“We knew he was gone. Kelvin was the closest, it could have been any one of them but it was him,” he said. Students phoned emergency services and the police, who they say only arrived an hour later, after the perpetrator had already fled.
He added that this must be separated from the university and well as the #FeesMustFall movement.
“This happened at a private residence after a function, it had nothing to do with UJ and #FeesMustFall,” he said.
— UJFeesMustFall (@UJFMF) November 7, 2016
Gauteng police spokesperson, Colonel Noxolo Kweza said that the police are in the very early stages of investigating Baloyi’s death.
“We have a number of suspects we are looking into but right now we are gathering information from witnesses,” she said.
About the allegation of police arriving an hour after the incident, she said they had received no complaint and could only act on it when they did.
In a statement, Afhco said the perpetrator was unknown to them.
“[The perpetrator] appears to have entered the property at the same time as security guards employed by SNG Security. The latter private security company was contracted to place two uniformed and unarmed security guards at the party,” it said.
Afhco said they prohibit all security guards from carrying any weapons onto their properties and said they were unclear why the individual was armed.
The company said they were working with the police and extended their heartfelt condolences to Baloyi’s family and friends. They also said counselling has been arranged for the family and other residents of the building.
Students have alleged that the perpetrator has previously been seen on a UJ campus in a Fidelity security uniform.The CEO of Fidelity, Wahl Bartmann denied that this person is their employee, saying “It’s not my guard. Full stop. We haven’t posted a person in that area, we don’t know who the person is.”
8. The shooter was a short, tough looking black guy whose been seen countless times working for UJ at DFC.
— George Kiblor (@Kiblor) November 6, 2016
In a statement, UJ spokesperson Kaamini Reddy said that the university’s management has met with the family to express their sincere condolences, but that it was important to note that the security official involved was not in the employ of UJ.
The Daily Vox reached out to SNG security, which provides security at the residence, for comment but none had been received at the time of publishing.