Ipid identifies man killed during Wits student protest
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Johannesburg - The Independent Police Investigations Directorate has identified the man shot and killed during clashes between police and protesting students in Braamfontein on Wednesday morning as Mthokozisi Ntumba.
Ipid described the 35-year-old Ntumba as a “civilian, a husband, a father of a toddler”.
Ntumba was not part of the student protest and had just left a doctor’s office when he was allegedly shot by the police officer.
Ipid said late on Wednesday night that its investigation team were “processing voluminous evidence gathered in the crime scene during the preliminary investigation it conducted”.
“During the preliminary investigation the Directorate has managed to collect numerous witness statements, to confiscate firearms and the same will be taken for ballistic analysis, post mortem to determine actual cause of death will be conducted later this week, family liaison has started and the investigation continues.”
Gauteng police confirmed that five students were arrested.
“About five suspects were arrested and charged with public violence but police continue to monitor the situation,” said Gauteng police spokesperson Kay Makhubela.
Two student journalists, Nondumiso Lehutso and Aphelele Buqwane, who work for the Vow FM (Voice of Wits FM) and Wits Vuvuzela, a student newspaper, were shot with rubber bullets while reporting on the protests.
The Vice Chancellor of Wits Professor Zeblon Vilakazi told SAFM that he was “gutted” by the death of the man.
Vilakazi also stated that they as Wits were not the ones who called the police.
He said the institution has its own security on campus and that as soon as protests go outside, then public order police gets involved but that they were not the ones who called them.
Shirona Patel, Wits spokesperson, said on Tuesday that the protesting students were demanding free education and to be allowed to register despite owing the institution.
She said the university had made some concessions to assist students by availing funds for those that could not afford tuition, registration as well as accommodation.
“Wits has made available a Wits Hardship Fund worth R10 million to assist students who are experiencing financial hardship and who have historical debt (up to R120 000). They can register and secure accommodation provided that they meet the criteria.
“Wits also established a Wits Covid-19 Relief Fund worth R10-million to assist students whose families have been adversely impacted by the pandemic.
“Approximately 27 000 of the University’s 37 500 students are on some form of financial aid, scholarship or bursary,” she said.
Vilakazi said there had been a series of meetings since January , some with the dean and also with senior executives over funding issues.
He said in the last meeting they had with the Student Representative Council, they made it clear that they could not meet all the demands of an increase in the debt ceiling base that would throw the university’s sustainability into peril.
That, he said, was due to the fact that they have a debt limit of a billion rand.
“If that debt shoots up, then we might have what we call a fiscal cliff and that would be irresponsible of any manager to bequeath to the next successor a bankrupt institution,” he said.