Wits University Vice-Chancellor Professor Zeblon Vilakazi has denied allegations that the institution called on police to deal with protesting students on and off-campus this week.
Yesterday, 35-year-old Mthokozisi Ntumba was allegedly shot and killed by police who were dispersing protesting students outside the university in Braamfontein, using rubber bullets.
Vilakazi said on Thursday that the university had no control over what was happening outside its gates.
He said the institution has its own security on campus and that protocol dictates that as soon as protesters go outside, public order police get involved.
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“What happens outside the perimeters of the university becomes public order,” said Vilakazi.
“It is regrettable that someone died because of disproportionate use of containing the protest. I think the situation could have been dissolved better.”
Vilakazi said that he was “gutted” by the death of the man.
He said that the university will closely monitor the case’s developments as the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) investigate Ntumba’s death.
“We do not want this to be a cold case.”
According to Ipid’s Spokesperson, Ndileka Cola, the case of ‘death as a result of police action’ is under investigation by the directorate.
Cola said that they had gathered evidence at the crime scene during the preliminary investigation conducted by four investigators after the incident yesterday.
Cola added that “numerous witness statements” had been collected and that firearms had been confiscated which will be taken for ballistic analysis. A post mortem will also be conducted to determine the actual cause of death later this week.