Police Minister Bheki Cele says it’s heartless for a political party to use the pain of bereaved families for political gain. He was responding to Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema’s remarks that Cele had reneged on a promise to pay the burial costs of Mthokozisi Ntumba who was shot dead in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, last week, allegedly by police.
The 35-year-old was killed on Wednesday during a protest by Wits University students.
Ntumba had just visited a local clinic when police allegedly shot him dead. He died on the scene from bullet wounds.
Cele paid the family a visit following Ntumba’s death but denies having any discussions about funeral arrangements with them. Police Ministry Spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, says Cele assured the bereaved family that police would cooperate fully with IPID’s investigations into the death of their son.
“At no point did Minister Cele discuss funeral arrangements with the family during his visit. Neither did the family at this early stage in their bereavement, express specific financial needs to the Minister. General Cele takes exception to the remarks made by EFF leader Julius Malema.
Cele says these claims are false and misleading. He says it is an absolutely heartless move by any political party or its leadership to lie to its followers and to the nation by using the pain of a family, to push a political agenda in a desperate attempt to gain political mileage.”
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) has arrested four police officers from the Public Order Policing Unit in connection with the death of Ntumba.
The four officers will appear at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday facing charges of murder, attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice.