Police Minister Bheki Cele described the death of Mthokozisi Ntumba, the man killed on Wednesday allegedly by police when they fired rubber bullets at protesting Wits students, as “a loss”.
Speaking to Newzroom Afrika on Thursday, following his visit to the family of the deceased, Cele said the visits were necessary to understand the situation better.
“These visits are necessary. They put you in the shoes and understanding of the pain of those involved. It stops being a story. You were told about it, I saw the kids and the young wife. The story of the family was told,” he said.
According to Cele, Ntumba was the main breadwinner whose siblings looked up to him.
“He was a young man of 35, his youngest kid is less than a year old. His siblings all looked up to him. He was the main breadwinner who was still dealing with other siblings. He had just finished his master’s degree, working in government in the Human Settlements. He was a human being who was contributing to the nation. It’s a loss.”
On the shooting on Ntumba, Cele said he could not explain it.
“It has no grain of explanation on defence. Somebody went crazy and for now we need to leave it there.”
WATCH – Minister of Police visits the family of Edwin Ntumba https://t.co/zhxXmcW2Ak
— SA Police Service ???????? (@SAPoliceService) March 11, 2021
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) said on Wednesday that it was working around the clock processing evidence gathered from the crime scene during the preliminary investigation it conducted.
“It is alleged that the young man who is a civilian, who was not part of the protest had just left the doctor’s rooms when he was allegedly shot by the police officers,” said spokesperson Ndileka Cola.
— Swazi Nkosi (@ZamaswaziNkosi4) March 11, 2021
“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. Fmily liaison has started and the investigation continues.”
Meanwhile, the students arrested during the Wits protest are appearing at the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on charges of alleged public violence.