Four cops arrested in connection with Mthokozisi Ntumba's death

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Mthokozisi Ntumba. (Supplied)
Mthokozisi Ntumba. (Supplied)
  • Four officers have been arrested in connection with the killing of a bystander, allegedly by police, during student protests in Johannesburg last week.
  • IPID says they face charges of murder, attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice.
  • Meanwhile, Police Minister Bheki Cele has clarified allegations that he made false promises to the deceased's family.

Four police officers have been arrested in connection with the killing of Mthokozisi Ntumba, the bystander who was shot dead amid protesting by Wits students last week. 

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) said the four officers will appear in the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court on Wednesday.

READ | Wits shooting: IPID to probe killing of man near student protest

IPID spokesperson Ndileka Cola said the officers faced charges of murder, three counts of attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice.

Ntumba was allegedly shot dead in Braamfontein as police tried to disperse University of Witwatersrand students protesting registration and university fees. 

The doctor who treated Ntumba in his final moments had described to media how the man was "gasping for air" as doctors tried in vain to resuscitate him. 

Family described Ntumba as a hardworking and positive man. 

TIMELINE | What we know about the #WitsAsinamali protests and the death of a patient

Both Police Minister Bheki Cele and President Cyril Ramaphosa conceded last week that police may have shown "overreach" when responding to the protests.

Meanwhile, University of Cape Town students have also locked horns with university management over fees, and the university announced on the weekend that it will allow students with historical debt to register.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal on Monday announced a suspension of its academic programme, awaiting the outcome of stakeholders' meetings with higher education over fees.

In another twist, Cele on Monday denied allegations by EFF leader Julius Malema that he reneged on promises made to Ntumba’s family.

Cele said he visited Ntumba’s family on Thursday to pay condolences to the family and to demonstrate a commitment toward swift action and full accountability.

Cele said he assured the family that the SAPS will cooperate fully with the IPID investigation into Ntumba’s death.

“It is important to note that at no point did Cele discuss funeral arrangements with the family during his visit or subsequently. Neither did the family at this early stage in their bereavement, express specific financial needs to the Minister.

“Cele urged the family to get in touch with him on his mobile number, as well as the number of his spokesperson if the family experienced any difficulties leading up to the investigations of the case. There has not been a call from the family to this effect,” Cele spokesperson Lirandzu Themba said.

Cele claimed that Malema’s remarks are false and misleading.

“It is an absolutely heartless move by any political party or its leadership to lie to its followers and to the nation by using the pain of a family who suffered such a devastating loss of a father, a husband and a breadwinner, to push a political agenda in a desperate attempt to gain political mileage,” Cele said. 

During his visit to Ntumba’s family residence on Sunday, Malema said his party will support the family financially to bury their loved one.

“We are not like Cele, we don’t make promises, we make commitments. This commitment of burying our own in a dignified manner shall happen. We don’t want to take over, we are helping from the background,” said Malema.

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