AS POLICE Minister Nathi Mthethwa yesterday walked the 500m route along which Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia was dragged handcuffed behind a police van, two more “dragging” incidents have emerged.
The Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) said a North West police officer would appear in court today for allegedly assaulting a man in Setlopo Village, Mahikeng, and dragging him with a police vehicle.
The 36-year-old sergeant is based at the Lomanyaneng police station.
The victim, a court interpreter at Molopo Magistrate’s Court, alleges that on March 7, he was grabbed by the neck and dragged for about 100m.
He suffered injuries to his feet, for which he received treatment in hospital.
The second case caused a man’s death after a woman constable allegedly stopped a group of youths near a tavern just after midnight on July 15 2012 in Jouberton, Klerksdorp, also in the North West.
She allegedly called 20-year-old Kleinbooi Matthews to the car, shut the window on him and drove away while his head was inside.
The rest of the victim’s body was dangling outside the police vehicle.
The 32-year-old suspect was arrested by the IPID. It is not known when her case will be heard. In Daveyton yesterday, Mthethwa, Gauteng police commissioner Mzwandile Petros and other government officials paid a visit to Macia’s family.
They also addressed community members at a church.
After a scripture reading and prayer, the minister was seen removing his glasses to wipe tears from his eyes as a family member spoke.
“We came to the family to offer them our sincerest condolences and support. Indeed we regret what happened and would not wish it on any human being,” Mthethwa said.
After he retraced the route, the minister said: “It was not a good feeling walking that path knowing someone suffered and later died at the hands of police. Such actions make people react in a particular way against police, but meanwhile there are officers who do their jobs well on a daily basis.”
Outside the Mabaso Street house – where Macia rented a room until his death – Mthethwa called the 27year-old’s death and other complaints of assault by community membersat the hands of police “an embarrassment”.
“Such incidents are cause for concern,” the minister said.
“The police are losing the respect of community members because of colleagues who do not conduct themselves accordingly.” – Additional reporting by Sapa