Police Minister Bheki Cele is expected to lead a visit to the family of Mthokozisi Ntumba, the 35-year-old man who was shot dead allegedly by members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) during Wits University’s student protests.
Cele will be joined by Gauteng Police Commissioner Elias Mawela and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) on Thursday, March 11, 2021 at the man’s home in Kempton Park, Johannesburg.
Ntumba died during the student demonstrations in Braamfontein on Wednesday. The students took to the streets to protest against Wits’ decision to not allow some of their indebted counterparts to register.
Several people were wounded during the violent clashes, including two student journalists who were reporting on the incident.
IPID has said it was probing the man’s death, which sparked even more anger amongst protesting students and South Africans in general, who accused law enforcement of being too heavy-handed.
“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,” it has said.
For many, this is a stark reminder of the 2016 Fees Must Fall protests which rocked most tertiary institutions across the country. The unrest at Wits certainly stood at the time, due to the extent of violence which broke out between police officers and protesting students. The demonstrations take place on the same day the SRC is scheduled to hold a meeting with Wits management.
Wits is considered one of the continent’s top-tier learning institutions, offering top quality education – with that comes the hefty fees. An undergraduate qualification at the university can cost anywhere between R42 000 and R100 000 a year. That’s excluding other necessities like stationery.
SRC president Mpendulo Mfeka has said they are also aggrieved by the fact that the fees for 2021 were increased despite the fact the students were not on campus for the majority of 2020.