WATCH: Mthokozisi Ntumba’s family, collegues gather at Tshwane House to pay last respects
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Pretoria - Colleagues from the Tshwane Department of Human Settlements paid their last respects to Mthokozisi Ntumba who lost his life as a bystander when police fired rubber bullets at protesting students in Braamfontein last week.
The City of Tshwane today hosted at Tshwane House a memorial service for the family and employees who worked with the married father of three, who served as a human settlement planner for the City.
An atmosphere of sadness, loss and void uncomfortably settled in on the colleagues who praised his work as he was tasked to formalise the informal settlements in Tshwane, including the popular Soshanguve Nkandla Informal Settlement, popularly known as Changing Spot.
Employees of the City said he was a very passionate employee who would send colleagues documents late at night and even hold long conversations about how best to plan and the development of Tshwane town planning, housing development and envisaged how some areas should look like after development.
Ntumba's younger brother, Sanele Ntumba, spoke emotively about his brother who loved agriculture and raising cattle and building up his siblings.
With tears on his face and his voice cracking, he said: "I do not have words to describe him. Things will be harder without him. It will not be easy, but we will carry on where he left. He did not want to see people cry so I am sure he would not want to see me cry right now."
He said his brother married young and would also encourage other younger men to do the same.
"He said to us, get married and enjoy arriving home to a cooked meal. Because my brother achieved so much in a short period of time and had a young family, I even asked him to slow down, why was he rushing. Little did I know his life was actually shorter."
His colleague and friend Takalani Mulidi said Ntumba actually came to work for the City of Tshwane from the City of Johannesburg and when he arrived he had questions about the communities that lacked water and wondered why colleagues here had to have talks with the chiefs when planning to bring such services, but he was made to understand how things worked in Tshwane.
Jokingly, Mulidi, said Ntumba was thinner and looked like he was starved at home, and subsequently introduced him to a meat spot in Pretoria West, and Ntumba never looked back again. He said Ntumba was slimmer so he would tease Mulidi for being bigger and wondered how he would outrun angry people if they were ever chased from a meeting.
"However, on a higher note Ntumba showed me that he was education grounded. He had just received his masters degree. He was a visionary and future oriented person. He was also family orientated. I have lost a big friend who was dear to me," said Mulidi.
Ntumba's supervisor Oupa Appies said since he was appointed as a town planner in 2016, he has been hard working and an upright professional who made sure their division performed better. He said he actually visited Hammanskraal ext 4 to engage the community on how to improve the area, the last Friday before his death.
MMC for Human Settlements Mpho Mehlape-Zimu and Speaker for Tshwane Council Katlego Mathebe also paid their last respects to Ntumba, whom they came to learn about properly after his passing.
Mathebe encouraged the family and colleagues to be strong as they honour his name and his memory in the healing process.
The four police officers arrested in connection with the killing of Ntumba appeared at the Johannesburg Magistrate's Court following investigations by the Independent Police investigative Directorate.
Ntumba will be laid to rest on Saturday in KwaZulu-Natal.