Wits protest shooting: 'Unwarranted excessive violence' - Joemat-Pettersson condemns Ntumba killing

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  • Portfolio Committee on Police chairperson Tina Joemat-Pettersson has condemned the "unwarranted excessive violence" that led to Mthokozisi Ntumba's death.
  • She said the killing of a bystander was unacceptable.
  • She wants the investigation into the incident to be completed speedily.

Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Police Tina Joemat-Pettersson has condemned the "unwarranted excessive violence by the police that led to the death" of Mthokozisi Ntumba in Johannesburg.

Ntumba, a 35-year-old father of four, died on Wednesday after he was shot - allegedly by police - after leaving a clinic in Braamfontein where Wits students were protesting over the non-registration of students who owed the university money.

It is unclear whether he was shot with a rubber bullet or live ammunition.

"While we do not want to pre-empt the investigation by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, the killing of the innocent bystander is unacceptable and adds to the perception of excessive violence sometimes used by the police," Joemat-Pettersson said in a statement released on Thursday.

She said the training of public order police had been highlighted several times and was explicit in the legacy report of the Portfolio Committee on Police of the Fifth Parliament. It was also raised by the Farlam Commission, which conducted an inquiry into the Marikana incident.

As a result, the committee would seek a detailed report on the implementation of the panel of experts' recommendations made in that report, especially concerning the training of police officers.

Joemat-Pettersson pointed out that peaceful protest was protected by the Constitution and the unwarranted use of excessive force in policing during protests needed to be urgently addressed by police management.

Joemat-Pettersson called on the police to always exercise restraint in dealing with public protests.

She also called for the speedy completion of the investigation of the incident to ensure justice for Ntumba.

"I extend my heartfelt condolences to the Ntumba family and friends on their loss," Joemat-Pettersson said.

The incident happened while the Portfolio Committee on Police were meeting on Wednesday, in which it emerged that Police Minister Bheki Cele only learnt by chance last week that the police hadn't processed any DNA evidence samples in January and February; and that the police were, on two occasions, ready to pay for a system to keep track of evidence, but Cele blocked it on both occasions.

This led to the system being switched off in June and eight million pieces of evidence could subsequently not be found.

Also on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa told the House of Traditional Leaders that he was "deeply" disturbed by Ntumba's death and that it appeared that there was "overreach" by the police.

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