PP's office 'sad' about violence, brutality against protesting students

Four police officers are expected to appear in court on Tuesday in connection with the death of Mthokozisi Ntumba.

Protesters walk behind a forensic pathology service vehicle carrying the body of a passerby that was shot dead after South African police moved to disperse students protesting against refusal by a top Johannesburg-based university to register those in arrears with tuition fees, in Braamfontein, Johannesburg on 10 March 2021. Picture: Emmanuel Croset/AFP

JOHANNESBURG — The Public Protector's office on Tuesday said it was sad to see the violence and brutality meted out by police against students fighting for education.

Four police officers are expected to appear in court on Tuesday in connection with the death of Mthokozisi Ntumba.

The 35-year-old was killed in Braamfontein last week when police fired rubber bullets at him. He was not part of the student protest.

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Acting Public Protector Kholeka Gcaleka has kicked off her five-week-long tour to tertiary institutions with a visit to the University of Venda to intervene in the country's tertiary education crisis.

Over the next few weeks, Gcaleka will hear from management, students and the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).

Gcaleka said every year the same problem arose, where many students were unable to continue with their studies due to a lack of funds.

Spokesperson Oupa Segwale said they were also appalled by the level of force used on students.

“It’s a sorry sight to see and very disappointing because one would think by now, we would have gone past this. It is something that happens year in and year out. It’s sad to see the violence and the brutality meted out on students by authorities."

The acting Public Protector is expected to meet with Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande on Tuesday evening to discuss the issues raised by students.

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