Wits student protest did not warrant that type of police response - Ramaphosa

Mthokozisi Ntumba, a 35-year-old father of four, was shot during a protest by Wits University students in Braamfontein on Wednesday.

FILE: Cyril Ramaphosa at the annual opening of the National House of Traditional Leaders on 4 March 2021, with chairperson Inkosi Mahlangu above him. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the events at Wits University were deeply disturbing and that the country was mourning the death of Mthokozisi Ntumba.

The 35-year-old father of four was shot during a protest by Wits University students in Braamfontein on Wednesday.

The president was addressing the National House of Traditional Leaders: "Mthokozisi Ntumba was an innocent bystander and indeed even, I would say, the students, much as they were protesting, the way I saw it on televisions did not warrant the type of resistance and push from our police."

The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) is investigating the circumstances of the killing and visited Ntumba's home on Thursday morning, along with Police Minister Bheki Cele.

READ: Cele, Mawela visit home of man shot dead by police during Wits protest

WATCH: 'There was overreach by the police' - Ramaphosa

Cabinet said it was deeply saddened by the death of Ntumba.

At a briefing on the outcomes of Cabinet’s meeting held on Wednesday, acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said that Ntumba’s death was “unfortunate” and that Cabinet expressed its condolences to his family and friends.

READ MORE: He had a wife & kids - Mthokozisi Ntumba's friend breaks down

"Cabinet urges the police to exercise restraint while ensuring public order during protests and never to use live ammunition," said Ntshavheni.

At the same time, Cabinet has condemned attacks on police.

"Cabinet condemned the continued attacks and killings of police officers as not only barbaric but also as a threat to national security. Members of the police and security service and other law enforcement agencies including private security companies put their lives in the line daily to keep us safe and they also deserve our support and protection.

Additional reporting by Gaye Davis.

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