EIGHT police officers are expected to appear in the Daveyton Magistrate’s Court today for the murder of Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia, 27.
In a reversal of their roles, the policemen were arrested, bundled into the back of a police van, and taken to the Boksburg holding cells on Friday.
Cellphone video footage showing Macia being handcuffed and dragged behind a police van went viral on Wednesday. Allegations of further assault in police holding cells emerged on Thursday after a preliminary postmortem found that Macia bled to death and had several ruptured organs.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) spent most of Friday morning behind closed doors at the Benoni police station identifying the men implicated in Macia’s alleged assault and murder.
DA police spokeswoman Dianne Kohler Barnard called for the establishment of a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate police brutality in the country.
She and other leaders from the political party yesterday marched in Daveyton in protest at Macia’s death.
“The response by the government and the SAPS has not been good enough. It is time for President Jacob Zuma to deal with the causes of police brutality and not just the symptoms.”
National director of Lawyers for Human Rights Jacob van Garderen said about 800 people died in police-related deaths every year. About R14-billion was paid by the government annually to compensate families for assaults, unlawful arrests and destruction of goods.
The IPID received 4923 complaints in relation to the actions of SAPS members in the period 2011-12.
Of these, 720 were deaths, 88 domestic violence cases, 2320 allegations of criminal offences and 1795 misconduct cases.
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa revealed in parliament last year that 144 SAPS members had been charged with murder and 91 had been charged with rape in 2011-12.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape recorded the third highest number of deaths of people in police custody in the country with 120 dying in police cells in 2011-12.
This is according to the annual IPID report which shows that deaths in police custody have increased substantially in the past 10 years.
KwaZulu-Natal police, with 268 deaths, lead the pack followed by Gauteng police with 217 deaths.
The IPID is also probing the death of an Eastern Cape policeman who died in police custody at the Barkly East police station earlier this year.
Sergeant Sibongile Xoli, who worked at the police station, was found dead in a cell on January 25, a day after he was detained for allegedly being drunk.
It is still unclear how Xoli died, but according to the Police, Prisons and Civil Rights Union, allegations are that he was assaulted by other policemen before being locked up.