Photo by MICHELE SPATARI/AFP via Getty Images

Student members of the African National Congress (ANC) chant political slogans while protesting outside ANC headquarters in Johannesburg, on March 11, 2021. -

Police Kill One Person Amid Ongoing Student Protests in South Africa

Amid continued protests against the financial exclusion of students from Wits University, the South African police have reportedly killed one person, 35-year-old Mthokozisi Ntumba.

One person has been killed amid the ongoing student protests in Johannesburg, South Africa. The 35-year-old victim, Mthokozisi Ntumba, was shot by the South African police who were reportedly dispersing a crowd of protesting students in Braamfontein—a student hub in Johannesburg. Students at the University of the Witwatersrand, often referred to as Wits University, are currently protesting the financial exclusion of Black students who are unable to register for the new academic year owing to a lack off funds. No police officers have as yet been charged for causing the death of Ntumba.

READ: Clashes Between Students Protesting Fee Increases and Police in the DRC Turn Deadly

Protests at Wits University began this past Tuesday, headed by student leaders who are part of the governing student structure called the SRC (Student Representative Council). The campuses of the university, spanning from Braamfontein to Parktown, were militarised by members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) as well as private security. Tear gas and rubber bullets, as usual, were used to periodically disperse the protesting students. Ntumba, who was reportedly returning from visiting a health facility, was then shot amid this dispersal and subsequently passed away at the scene.

According to Aljazeera, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) issued a statement that partially reads: "The Directorate has dispatched four investigation officers to probe the allegations, the team will also cordon the crime scene and conduct the investigation including locating the person with the video footage, identify eye witnesses etc."

Wits University's Executive Team recently released a public statement wherein they condemned any form of violence and called for calm following Ntumba's death. They have not issued any statementents with regards to resolving the registration challenges faced by students. However, deputy Minister of Higher Education, Buti Manamela, has since responded by saying, "Most of the issues we browsed through, the leadership of both the university and students can and should be able to sit around the table." he went on to add that, "We will try our best to give the institution the support for them to resolve these issues."

There has been national outrage following Ntumba's death as many reflect on how, six years after the initial Fees Must Fall protests in 2015/2016, very little has changed with regards to the plight of poor Black South Africans attempting to access universities for further learning.

Here are some of the reactions to Ntumba's death on social media:

Image courtesy of the artist.

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