The death of the 35-year-old bystander as a result of police action has put the conduct of public order policing units under scrutiny
THE INDEPENDENT Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has arrested four police officers in connection with the murder of Mthokozisi Ntumba, the 35-year-old bystander who was shot dead during protests outside Wits University last week.
Ntumba’s death as a result of police action has put the conduct of public order policing units under scrutiny.
IPID spokesperson Ndileka Cola said the four officers who had been arrested were from the public order policing unit.
“The four officers will appear at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, March 17 and they are facing chargers of murder and three charges of attempted murder and defeating the end of justice,” said Cola.
The arrest of the four police officers comes as the Human Rights Watch in South Africa had called for the SAPS to place a moratorium on the use of shotgun-fired rubber bullets following Ntumba’s death.
Human Rights Watch criticised the police for using excessive force in carrying out their duties and also said the police were firing at student protesters at close range, without giving warnings before doing so.
Ntumba was shot dead – allegedly by police, when he found himself in the line of fire as protesting students and police clashed in the streets of Johannesburg.
The students had blocked roads during their protest, in which they called for Wits University to allow all students who had been financially excluded to be allowed to register for the 2021 academic year.
The government official had just seen a doctor at a local medical centre when he was fatally wounded.
The arrest of the four police officers comes as students across the country have embarked on a national university shutdown, calling for the 26 public universities in the country to clear all historic debt. The students embarked on protest in various cities, blocking roads and burning tyres.