Politicians slam death of Mthokozisi Ntumba: 'Loss of innocent lives mustn't become our new normal'
Politicians have slammed the outcomes of the Wits fees protest after an innocent bystander, Mthokozisi Ntumba, was shot dead on Wednesday.
The 35-year-old was struck in the crossfire while leaving a clinic in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, after the police fired rubber bullets during the student protest.
Ntumba worked as a human settlements planner at the City of Tshwane and had just completed his master’s degree.
His death is being investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) and the cause is set to be revealed later in the week.
Speaking in the National Traditional House of Leadership on Thursday, President Cyril Ramaphosa slammed police's “overreach” in the protest.
“Mthokozisi Ntumba was an innocent bystander and indeed even the students, much as they were protesting, the way I saw it on television did not warrant the type of resistance and push from the police,” said Ramaphosa.
“This disturbed me deeply because it demonstrated that while our people demonstrated peacefully, there was overreach from the police.
“While this matter is being investigated by the relevant bodies, those who acted beyond what they were meant to should be dealt with in accordance with our law,” he added.
Police minister Bheki Cele said the incident was unexplainable. “It’s something that has no grain of explanation and defence. Somebody just went crazy,” he said.
On social media, politicians weighed in on the incident, with some slamming Ramaphosa and the SA Police Service (SAPS). Here are some of their reactions:
DA leader John Steenhuisen
The loss of innocent lives at the hands of law enforcement officials must not become our new normal.— John Steenhuisen MP (@jsteenhuisen) March 10, 2021
We are not a military state, agencies like the SAPS must be professionalised to avoid the unnecessary loss of lives.
The IPID must act swiftly on the #WitsProtest incident.
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula
One SA movement leader Mmusi Maimane
We must remember his name #MthokozisiNtumba.— Mmusi Maimane (@MmusiMaimane) March 11, 2021
He was coming from the doctor and was killed by the police during the #WitsProtests
He just completed his masters degree and was looking forward to a promising career. He was father to a young toddler and had many dreams for his kid. pic.twitter.com/MpHSsPUdFf
It's a disgrace for the police to maltreat student protesters like this. Exactly how the apartheid police behaved! Our @MYANC government is failing our young people. How can the Minister of Higher Education, @BladeNzimandeMP say, "Free education is a Zuma thing"?? Sies minister! pic.twitter.com/V3ybFhB9YA— Carl Niehaus (@niehaus_carl) March 10, 2021
EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi
ANC leaders take SA for fools: yesterday Tito was busy calling for establishment of State Bank as if he is not a Finance Minister with power to establish one. Today, ANC SG is marching with students to “ConCourt” to demand Free Education- this is SG of the RULING PARTY!!! 🤷🏾♂️— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) March 11, 2021
Former deputy leader of the Independent Democrats, Simon Grindrod
Blade Nzimande should be used as a text book study in ministerial incompetence for political science students. It would be the one & only time he added value to higher education. 🇿🇦— Simon Grindrod (@SimonPGrindrod) March 11, 2021
The ANC has failed the students of our nation. No political games by Ace Magashule can disguise the betrayal of a party that promised so much but delivered nothing but rubber bullets. 🇿🇦— Simon Grindrod (@SimonPGrindrod) March 11, 2021