31 May, 2013

Slain TUT Student Remembered

Dismayed family memmbers and friends during a memorial service  of slain TUT student Gopolang Ngobeni

 Alfred Makhubela
Hundreds of Tshwane University of Technology students and staff members paid tribute during a memorial service of slain student Gopolang Ngobeni who was allegedly shot and killed by police officials last Saturday at Caltex Garage in Randfontein.
Ngobeni’s campus life and times was described as the family of the deceased occupied the front row with sombre faces, weeping as the quivering voices of students recited poems and sang spiritual hymns.Speakers condemned  the police’s action which resulted with the  22 year old’s life being cut shot.
Emotional resident manager Willemina Mosomane said that Telkom residence where Ngobeni resided has lost not only a student but a family member and it took her time to accept the fact that he’s a victim of police killings. “It is very sad to lose a student and it was difficult to confirm that really he is gone. We built a strong bond together as I took him as my son and he called me mother. It took only minutes to take him away”, said the distraught manager.
Academic Department representative Professor MC Mashige said that the Department of Applied Languages and Language Practice is under serious attack as reports of sexual assaults and death rate escalate. He consoled the Ngobeni family and condemned the May 25th shooting. “Gopolang’s death was not a natural death, he was killed by police. Nevertheless to the Ngobeni family we will celebrate his life and cherish the good times we had while he was still with us.” he said.

It is alleged that on 25 May Ngobeni and his four friends were travelling to the funeral of their friend’s father in Mohlakeng, West Rand. According to a media statement released by the Department of Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) the five students did not know the direction and they got lost. They then followed a security vehicle which had come in front of them. After the security vehicle made a U-turn at a cul-de-sac, the students also made a U-turn.
 While driving towards a Caltex Garage with the intention of asking for directions, another security vehicle from the same company cut in front of them. Both security vehicles stopped next to a marked SAPS vehicle. The students drove on to the filling station. It is alleged that within a short space of time, the police vehicle (with its blue light on), as well as the security vehicles, followed the students to the filling station, which is near where they were.
The students were ordered to get out of their vehicle by the police. While trying to get out of the vehicle, Gopolang Ngobeni was shot by a policeman with an R5 rifle. The victim was declared dead at the scene. The vehicle in which the students were travelling was searched and nothing illegal was found, read the statement.
 Family spokesperson Michael Ngobeni said that the family wants answers of why Ngobeni was shot. The 30 year old constable will appear in court on the 3rd of June for a possible bill application.

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