Police Minister Bheki Cele has described as inexcusable the killing of a bystander, who died after being allegedly shot by a policeman, as law enforcement clashed with protesting Wits University students on Wednesday.
Cele made the remarks after visiting the man’s bereaved family in Kempton Park on Thursday. The deceased has since been identified as Mthokozisi Ntumba, a 35-year-old married father of three.
Ntumba, who had reportedly visited a clinic in Braamfontein in the vicinity of the protest, worked for the Department of Human Settlements, and had recently obtained a Master’s Degree.
Commenting on the fatal shooting of Ntumba, the Minister said: “It is something that has no grain of [sense] or defence. It’s something that you can’t explain (sic).”
Cele said he is hoping that the matter will be resolved speedily by the police.
Cele said it was not yet clear if Ntumba was killed by live ammunition or a rubber bullet.
“I don’t know for now. The IPID [Independent Police Investigative Directorate] is here and I’ll be briefed after that. Justice [in the case] needs to happen [for the family].”
The Minister said much more needs to be done to address the excessive use of force by police.
“We need to work towards that. There are many other [procedures] to be followed… We must work towards the elimination of this… It’s a sad situation. It is something you can’t live with.
“… Every month, the IPID gives me a long list of names of SAPS members, who are supposed to be referred to the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority]. There those who are charged, with some referred to the National Commissioner for disciplinary processes.
“That is happening, maybe not in the glare of the media, but it is happening.”
Cele said police are implementing recommendations on police training contained in the Farlam Commission into police conduct in the mass killing of protesting miners in Marikana in 2012.
“… One of the aspects… the commission [emphasised] was the training of the POP [Public Order Policing], which is already happening.”
Asked about the police’s perceived uneven treatment of black and white protesters, the Minister acknowledged that public sentiment was growing stronger.
“… I have sat with the national police management and… we are working on it. I don’t agree that it’s [across the board], but there [are] elements of such within the organisation. But it’s not the stance of SAPS.”