Tito Mboweni accused of 'trivialising' the death of a man killed during Wits protest, later apologises
Finance minister Tito Mboweni faced backlash on Wednesday after he tweeted that no student was killed during the Wits protests, calling it fake news.
A man believed to be in his 30s was shot dead in Braamfontein, allegedly by police. Students who witnessed the incident told TimesLIVE that he had exited a local clinic when he was fatally shot as police dispersed protesters.
In a now-deleted tweet, Mboweni refuted claims on social media that the man was a student.
“My information is that there was no student who was killed! Fake news circulating. No deserving student will be left out. Minister Nzimande will deal with the matter tomorrow.”
EFF leader Julius Malema asked Mboweni for empathy, saying it didn't matter whether the man shot dead was a student or not.
African Transformation leader Mzwanele Manyi echoed his view.
Life was lost during the peaceful student's protest, which is not fake news. We know you don't care, but some empathy will be beneficial now, Tito!!!— Julius Sello Malema (@Julius_S_Malema) March 10, 2021
A young person was killed because police used bullets to control students protest.— Mzwanele Manyi (@MzwaneleManyi) March 10, 2021
The fine detail of whether the young person was a student or not is a technicality and insensitivity on your part. It shouldn't even arise.
A LIFE was lost.
At bare minimum, convey condolences.
EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi also responded to Mboweni and accused him of “incapacity to show remorse”.
One of the signs of a psychopath is incapacity for remorse. Police killed a man when they intended to kill a student under the watch of your government: if this doesn’t move you, go cook your lucky star & spare us your tin-fish pomposity! https://t.co/juXa30eWNs— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) March 10, 2021
Doesn’t matter if he was a student or not. He’s a murdered human being. Like???— AKA (@akaworldwide) March 10, 2021
Mboweni later issued an apology, saying he had not expressed himself clearly. He also conveyed condolences to the man's family.
APOLOGY: My earlier tweet about the Wits protest meant to indicate that the person killed today was NOT a student but this does not in any way diminish the fact and tragedy of a loss of life.— Tito Mboweni (@tito_mboweni) March 10, 2021
I did not express myself clearly and for that I apologize. My deepest condolences.
The apology triggered a response from One SA Movement leader Mmusi Maimane, who told the minister to address the grievances of students.
“You are not a bystander, you are the minister of finance.”
If they do nothing then everyone must take note of that and it must inform their next vote.— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) March 10, 2021
But even before the next election if you are unhappy as a citizen be as vocal as you can be on all platforms available to you.