Ntumba postmortem 'shows police were violent and cruel', says Ipid investigator
Mthokozisi Ntumba's postmortem confirmed that he died of a firearm injury to the chest, according to an affidavit from an Ipid investigator
On March 24 2021, four officers from the public order policing unit appeared in the Johannesburg magistrate’s court for a formal bail application in connection with the death of Mthokozisi Ntumba. Ntumba died when police fired rubber bullets at protesting Wits University students on March 10 2021.
Mthokozisi Ntumba was shot at close range with a rubber bullet, and those responsible witnessed him struggling but drove away without helping.
This was the testimony heard in the Johannesburg magistrate's court on Wednesday.
Ntumba’s postmortem results confirmed that he died from a firearm injury to the chest, according to an affidavit from Ipid investigator Judy Thwala read out by prosecutor Nkosinathi Zuma.
“The degree of violence in this case is evident in the wounds inflicted on the deceased — an innocent bystander — and shows the violent and cruel manner in which the police who were supposed to protect him killed him.
“Instead of preserving the crime scene and assisting the victims they chose to leave the scene, and there was no warning issued to the crowd before shooting,” said Zuma, reading from the Ipid investigator's affidavit.
Four public order police officers — Cidrass Motseothata, Madimetsa Legodi, Victor Mohammed and Tshepiso Kekana — appeared in the Johannesburg magistrate's court on Wednesday on a count of murder, three charges of attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice.
Ntumba, 35, was a town planner and a recent master's graduate. He was married with four children. A bystander, he was killed two weeks ago during a Wits student fees protest in Braamfontein when police fired rubber bullets to disperse protesters.
According to Zuma, reading out Thwala's affidavit, Ntumba's body was found on the pavement with three bullet wounds. The court heard that the police officers got out of the Nyala vehicle and shot at students who were inside a building — students who were not violent.
“The deceased and students ran [in] different directions. One witnesses pointed [to] the injured person and they [the accused] looked at the deceased and drove away from the scene,” said the affidavit.
According to Thwala's affidavit, the accused, who are applying for bail, will jeopardise the case if bail is granted.
Judgment regarding bail has been reserved for Friday.
The first accused, 27-year-old Kekana, pleaded for release on bail, saying it was in the best interests of justice.
“I have one child for whom I am the sole provider. I do not have any pending cases. I do not have any criminal record,” he told the court.
He said he would also not interfere with witnesses, nor flee the country.
Motseothata, 43, the second accused, said in an affidavit that he would plead not guilty.
“I am confident that should this case go to trial, I will be acquitted. This case has taken a huge toll on my mental wellbeing. I want to seek psychological help. Me remaining in custody is causing a rift in my family. My wife has not visited me since my arrest,” Motseathata said.
Legodi, 37, told the court that he had previous driving offences for which he paid a fine — “one happened more than 10 years ago, the other for drinking and driving was in 2014".
“It is in the interests of justice to grant me bail. I wish to bring to the court's attention that intend to plead not guilty, I deny all the allegations. My children's mothers are unemployed and they depend on me. My mother also depends on me.
“I am concerned about my safety in prison as the conditions are hard, especially with coronavirus,” Legodi said.
Legodi said he had been in the employ of the police since 2007.