The four police officers who were arrested on Monday 15 March in connection with the killing of a man during the Wits protests last week have appeared in court on Wednesday, with charges of murder, three counts of attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice slapped on the men.
The men are accused of gunning down Mthokozisi Ntumba, who worked Department of Human Settlements and had just gained his Master’s degree at the university. He was a father to three children and left behind a young wife.
State to oppose bail for police officers
The state said in court that they are waiting for the release of the postmortem report on Ntumba’s death, which should be ready before Friday, and will rely on this – and not eyewitness reports – when they prepare their opposition to the men receiving bail when their application is heard on 24 March.
“The prosecutor has presented, and the State will be opposing bail,” said National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Phindi Mjonodwane.
“They have been charged with five offences. The onus is on the accused to convict the court that it is in the interest of justice that they should be released on bail. We will present afterwards and opposed this.”
Accused cops named
The four suspects who will remain in custody until their bail application have been named as the following.
- Constable Tshepiso Kekana (27-years-old),
- Sergeant Motseothata Boitumelo (43-years-old),
- Sergeant Madimeja Lekgodi (37-years-old) and
- Warrant Officer Victor Mohammed(51-years-old)
They are all members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) Public Order Policing group and will be detained at the Hilbrow police station in Johannesburg.
Ntumba family seeking justice for slain father
Tributes have poured in after the young man tragically lost his life during the unrest that exploded at Wits University last week, with students and the SRC leading calls for historical debt to be erased so as to allow students to register for their courses.
A spokesperson for the Ntumba family – Sthembiso Jwara – said that while the arrests of the officers is welcomed, they remain insistent that justice is actually served.
“People are arrested and are released later and found not guilty,” she said. “We would like to see justice being done.”
The SRC, who visited the family on Tuesday, said they would like to see the Wits University Hardship Fund renamed in his honour.
Police Minister Bheki Cele also visited the Ntumba family this week, and said that the man’s death was tough to process.
He’s a father of three, he’s got a young wife. I think his youngest son is just a year old. It’s a sad issue,” “It’s a sad situation to look at. It’s something that you can’t really even be able to live with as a human being now, taking all other elements of life out,” said Cele.