Cop relieved after shooting

2012-11-17 15:56

Following the death of 27-year-old farm worker Michael Daniels ­during violent protests on Wednesday, a police captain has been relieved of his command at the Wolseley Police Station.

Daniels died after being shot while police were trying to control violent protests that saw shop windows on Wolseley’s main street shattered with rocks and burning barricades erected at the entrance of the town’s Pine Valley township.

His 60-year-old mother, Magdelena Daniels, said her only son was shot twice and died at the scene.

Magdelena said Michael, the youngest of two children, stayed with her, but had been working on one of the Graaff Fruit farms in the area for three months. She said Michael was the breadwinner.

On Wednesday morning, Magdelena said, Michael left for work but ran into strikers.

He did not want to get involved, she said, so returned home. Near midday, he left the house to visit his girlfriend and return her cellphone.

He didn’t come home. Magdelena later received a call from her niece saying that Michael was dead. Magdelena said her son ­never argued with her.

“He came home from work, ate, cleaned, slept and went back to work.”

The owner of Graaff Fruit farms, Robert Graaff, said because Michael had only worked on the farm for three months, he had not really got to know him.

Graaff, who is praised by other farmers in the area for his progressive stance in improving workers’ lives, said he extended his sympathy to the Daniels family and was deeply saddened by Michael’s death.

On Thursday striking workers gathered outside the police station demanding the release of eight people who had been arrested and the suspension of the police captain who allegedly shot Daniels.

At an open-air meeting in Pine Valley on Thursday night, attended by 600 people, community leader Lami Ngquthu announced that those arrested had been released on R200 bail and “Captain Botha” had been suspended.

Provincial police spokesperson Andre Traut said Botha had not been suspended. But he said there had been “a change of command at the Wolseley Police Station”.

» Additional reporting by Katie de Klee

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