Wits shooting: Malema says ANC police are controlled by apartheid officers
Johannesburg - EFF leader Julius Malema said the ANC police were controlled by “apartheid policemen with 36 years in service”.
This comes as 35-year-old Mthokozisi Ntumba was shot and killed by bullets that were meant for protesting Wits students on Wednesday morning.
Ntumba was coming out of a medical centre at the time of the shooting. He died at the scene.
Malema said they would get to the bottom of what happened.
“We are sending our condolences to his family. We will get to the bottom of this. We want the police who shot him to be held accountable. We will get justice for that person. We want SAPS itself to pay more money for acting irresponsibly.”
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union also condemned the use of brutal force by police members against protesting students.
In a statement the union said it found it abhorrent that in this day of democracy there are police who treat peaceful marchers like it is still the dark days of apartheid.
“The use of brutal force against unarmed and harmless children should be condemned … We will write to the Minister of Police to demand answers in this regard.”
The Higher Education Department was expected to meet the university’s management today to discuss the matter.
Students at the university are challenging its financial aid policies, which are said to have excluded a great number of those who are yet to register due to financial constraints.
Meanwhile, the university is well on course with its online learning classes, which have reportedly seen more than 20 000 log on to the portal.
Wednesday marked the second day of the student protests across Braamfontein, where a man was shot. For a brief period, police officers took no prisoners as they fired rubber bullets continuously.
Numerous students were on the receiving end of the bullets. The Star has uncovered that at least five students were rushed to hospital for treatment.
One student, who spoke anonymously, said she was ordered by police to run before being shot on her right thigh and buttocks.
“I was going to the Wits art museum because I was going to resume my classes there. After we found the door to the museum closed, we had to run and since I was running at the back I got shot.”
The student expressed her disappointment, stating the police “enjoyed” shooting her. “I feel let down. He did not care if I was part of the protest or not, he just began to shoot. He looked so happy. It was very disappointing and shocking.”
Things got heated in the afternoon, as students proceeded to Empire Road, blockading the road and singing Struggle songs.
Police resumed firing rubber bullets to disperse the crowd, while entrances into the university were blocked.
Four more students were shot and one was arrested. Law enforcement refrained from firing realising an innocent civilian had been shot dead.
The 35-year-old was reportedly exiting a medical centre in De Beer Street, Braamfontein. A doctor at the centre, Dr Tebogo Sedibe, confirmed he had treated the victim.
“I treated him, provided him with medication and a sick note. I heard probably about five gunshots but I was still busy with another patient who came in after him.”
The doctor said upon his arrival outside, he performed CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) compression to try to resuscitate him but unfortunately it was not successful.
Police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele confirmed that “there was the body found on the street that we are still investigating the circumstances and the cause of death. Now the matter has been referred to Ipid for further investigation”.
Spokesperson for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid), Ndileka Cola, confirmed they were probing the incident.
“The team will also cordon off the crime scene and conduct an investigation including locating the person with the video footage, identifying eye-witnesses.”
Cola added if the incident was within the mandate of Ipid, the normal investigation process will unfold.
Wits Student Representative Council deputy president Sthembiso Dabula said it was disappointing police had resorted to violence.
“Students were sitting down and putting their hands up but they were being shot at.
“If this is the response we are going to get from the university and the state then it’s disappointing. What is even worse is that Blade (Nzimande) is a Communist and understands the struggles we go through,” Dabula said.
In a statement the university expressed its condolences to the family of the deceased. “Wits University is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of a 35-year-old man in Braamfontein outside the institution this morning.
“The university extends its condolences to the family of the deceased. We condemn any form of violence and call on all persons to keep calm during this very difficult time.”
The death of the man has sparked an outcry throughout the country with different political parties calling for accountability from the police.