As the higher education crisis in South Africa continues, Jesuit Fr. Graham Pugin was Monday injured by a rubber bullet
Fr Graham Pugin S.J., who was injured on the mouth by a rubber bullet at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, has received medical treatment and is recovering. This is according to a statement issued by Fr David Rowan SJ, the Regional Superior of the Jesuits in South Africa and made available to Vatican Radio by Fr Russell Pollitt SJ.
Fr Pugin has been one of the facilitators, along with other clergy and former student leaders, working towards an agreement for students, management and other stakeholders at the University of the Witwatersrand. Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Braamfontein has served as a safe space for negotiations. Sections of South African media reported that Fr Pugin was struck on the mouth by a rubber bullet Monday as he tried to protect students seeking safety at the Church.
Fr. Rowan has decried the high presence of security personnel at the Church. He said their presence and the clashes between police and students was making negotiations much more difficult. Following the incident involving Fr. Pugin, the Regional Superior expressed gratitude for the concern and offers of assistance received from members of society and organisations.
“We have received many prayers, well wishes and offers of assistance from across society. We have also received support from the Jesuit General Congregation meeting in Rome at present and the Vatican Ambassador [Apostolic Nuncio] to South Africa, His Excellency Archbishop Peter Wells,” the statement read.