COPS IN THE DOCK
Doctor testifies about trying to resuscitate Mthokozisi Ntumba after Braamfontein student protest
Four police officers have been charged with murder and attempted murder following the fatal shooting of Mthokozisi Ntumba during a student protest in Braamfontein on 10 March 2021.
The doctor who tried to resuscitate alleged police murder victim Mthokozisi Ntumba told the Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday that when he arrived at the scene Ntumba was gasping for air.
“I knelt by his right side and the first thing I noticed was that he was gasping,” said Dr Tebogo Sedibe, a State witness. He told the court he also noticed blood on Ntumba’s shirt.
“I lifted up the shirt and tapped him on the shoulder to see if he was responding.”
“What were your observations?” prosecutor Evelyn Moseki-Khumalo asked Sedibe.
“There was no response,” replied Sedibe.
Four police officers have been charged with murder and attempted murder following the fatal shooting of Ntumba during a student protest in Braamfontein on 10 March 2021.
The officers are Tshepisho Kekana (27), Cidraas Boitumelo Motseothata (43), Madimetja Joseph Legodi (37) and Victor Nkosinathi Mohammed (51).
Most of the evidence on Tuesday related to cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which Sedibe conducted on Ntumba.
“So, I went to the jugular area to feel the pulse, but I couldn’t feel anything. I had to then start CPR,” said Sedibe.
The doctor said when he arrived at the scene, he saw Ntumba had a wound on his face and another round open wound in the gastric area on his left side. He said Ntumba had no injuries when he consulted him earlier that morning.
“I continued with the CPR and after about 20 minutes paramedics arrived,” Sedibe told the court. He said CPR was an emergency procedure involving chest compressions combined with other ventilation methods to sustain brain life until a patient receives further steps to avert cardiac arrest.
“Could your compressions not have exacerbated the injury?” asked lawyer Thomas Mohope, appearing for the accused.
“Absolutely not,” Sedibe responded.
“The area we compress is an area which has international medical recognition,” Sedibe said.
“You perform CPR even if there is an injury in that area?” asked Mohope.
“Yes,” said Sedibe.
“Am I correct that one would stop performing CPR when you notice there is no sign of life?” asked Emmanuel Netshipise, another lawyer for the accused.
“Absolutely,” said Sedibe.
He added that CPR can be performed if the heart stopped beating recently.
Sedibe told the court he has been a doctor since 2008 and worked at Myclinic in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
He said on the morning of 10 March he had started work at 9am. Ntumba consulted him, and shortly after he left, Sedibe heard gunshots.
Mlungisi Mfaniseni Hlela, a security guard at the Johannesburg Institute of Engineering Technology which shares a building with Sedibe’s practice, told the court that he was in his guardhouse on the morning of 10 March when he heard gunshots and saw students running inside the school.
“When the shots rang out, the students swamped the entrance and blocked access,” Hlela said.
He went to investigate and saw police shooting at the students.
He said a police officer was inside the school premises trying to drag students to a police vehicle. He said he saw four police officers, one inside the school and three outside. He said the officer who was dragging students to a police vehicle left at his request.
Hlela said he explained to the officers that the people they were shooting were students waiting for a bus. He said the three officers shot at students who were standing at the gate.
“As I was guiding the students inside, I noticed that there was a person lying on the ground who I initially thought was one of our students. I came closer, there was a plastic bag. I saw that he also had blood [to the right of his chest],” Hlela said.
“I took the plastic and opened it and found pills. That’s when I realised it could not have been a student,” Hlela said.
“I put down the plastic and at that moment a receptionist from Myclinic appeared and she took the plastic and went to call the doctor.”
The trial was postponed to Thursday. DM