Senseless death of a kind family man

2013-03-03 10:00

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Four days before Mido Macia died in a Daveyton Police Station holding cell, family and friends flocked to his home after hearing he had died.

But while they were scrambling to find out what had happened, Macia emerged from a nearby shop carrying a bottle of cooldrink.

His landlady, Badalisile Ngwenya, the woman who became his second mother, told City Press she almost fainted when she saw Macia coming towards the house.

“I had just received a message that Mido was killed in a horrific accident three streets away from our home.

“Suddenly he emerges out of nowhere, looking like he had no care in the world,” she said.

Ngwenya shouted at the young man she considered a son because she thought it had been one of his silly jokes.

“He just broke out in laughter and said: ‘I am not going die right now, mom. I will tell you when I am about to die’.”

That was last Thursday – and on Tuesday Macia was dead.

The man who came to South Africa from Mozambique when he was 10 died in a police cell as a result of head injuries.

Cellphone video footage sent to the Daily Sun showed Macia being tied by officers to the back of a police van and dragged behind it for several metres.

Eight Daveyton police officers were arrested the following day and have each been charged with murder in the wake of the crime that put the nation’s “boys in blue” on the front pages of newspapers around the world.

The Daveyton Police Station commander has also been suspended by national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega.

Ngwenya’s daughter, Lindiwe, was travelling in Macia’s taxi when he was accosted by police, allegedly for stopping his taxi on the wrong side of the road.

“If I had a way of turning back the clock to the moments before Mido stopped his car to pick up other passengers, I would,” said Lindiwe. “Mido was a very good man who was full of life, and whenever he was around people he would be laughing. But now all that’s left of him is a sad and painful memory of his last moments as the van dragged him to the police station.”

Gugu Gumede, a childhood friend and neighbour, said: “Mido was different from other taxi drivers.

He was kind and would never leave you stranded on the street just because you don’t have taxi fare.

“He would take pensioners to pension payout points for free and even return to take them back home once they were done.”

Residents interviewed by City Press – who all insisted they remain anonymous – described Daveyton police as corrupt, lazy and rude.

Statistics on police brutality from the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) make for grim reading.

In the 2011/12 financial year, 720 deaths, allegedly at the hands of police officers, were investigated.

Ipid recommended 162 prosecutions and called for disciplinary action against 168 cops.

But only five officers were dismissed and 13 were convicted of crimes during that period.

The highest number of alleged deaths at the hands of police were investigated in the 2008/09 financial year, when 912 came in for Ipid scrutiny.

In that year, just three officers were dismissed and one was suspended for six months.

The DA’s shadow minister of police Dianne Kohler Barnard said the low conviction reflected the police’s “cover-up culture”.

“When Ipid investigates, they make recommendations to the SAPS (SA Police Service) and the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority). The SAPS will simply refuse. It is still happening.”

Barnard added that the rush to recruit new police ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup meant “criminal elements” had flooded into the SAPS.

On Friday, Phiyega described police management’s reaction to the death of Macia as “extreme shock and outrage”.

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