35-year-old father of three Mthokozisi Ntumba was shot dead by Johannesburg police in early March when he strayed into a demonstration by students angry at austerity cuts to bursaries and universities denying registration to those who owe outstanding fees.
South African student leaders have condemned the higher education minister’s likening of protests that saw an innocent bystander shot dead by police to a TV soap opera.
Blade Nzimande sparked outrage with his comments during an online meeting with the South African Union of Students (SAUS) and MPs earlier this week.
“Every year, it’s like a soapie now, The Bold and the Beautiful, every beginning of the year there is instability,” said Nzimande, referring to the cheesy US tele-drama syndicated on South African TV.
Two weeks earlier police in Johannesburg shot dead 35-year-old father of three Mthokozisi Ntumba as he walked out of a doctor’s office onto the street amid a protest by students from the city’s University of Witwatersrand.
The protesters were demanding the university drop its policy of refusing to let students who owed outstanding tuition fees sign up for new courses. That followed austerity cuts to the government’s NFAS bursary scheme by finance minister Tito Mboweni.