I feared for my life, I was not free to talk - Macia witness

2015-07-30 13:39
Mido Macia (Picture: AP)

Mido Macia (Picture: AP)

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Pretoria - A key witness in the State's case against nine Daveyton police officers accused of murdering Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia feared for his life, causing him to omit vital information in several statements made about Macia's death, he told the court on Thursday.

Warrant Officer Mpumzi Ngamlana, the cell commander at the Daveyton police station when Macia was brought in, was being cross-examined by defence lawyer for five of the officers, Marius van Wyngaardt, at the High Court in Pretoria when he made the revelation.

Van Wyngaardt asked Ngamlana why he had not included hearing one of the officers striking Macia with an open hand in the first five of six statements he had made regarding the case.

Ngamlana, who has served in the police for 29 years, testified that he feared for his life. "I also feared that there might be some talk which would not put me in good stead."

Thamsanqa Ncema, Linda Sololo, Meshack Malele, Motome Walter Ramatlou, Percy Mnisi, Bongamusa Mdluli, Sipho Ngobeni, Lungisa Ewababa and Bongani Kolisi were arrested after a video, showing Macia being tied to the back of a police van and dragged down Eiselen Street in Daveyton, went viral and caused public outrage. Macia was found dead in the police holding cells several hours later.

A post-mortem found that he had died from a lack of oxygen. Police deny playing any part in Macia's death, claiming he was alive when he was put in the cell.

Van Wyngaardt also questioned Ngamlana on why there was no mention of the nine officers interacting with Macia at the disciplinary hearing.

"The reason that I have already stated, because at the hearing I was with them and I was not free to talk... I was not free to tell everything at the time,” Ngamlana said.

Ngamlana went on to testify that he had "told everything" in a sixth and final statement.

Van Wyngaardt then questioned the circumstances under which the sixth statement had been given, telling the court that the case had been postponed in October last year as the State "had to decide whether they were going to charge you (Ngamlana) as well".

The suggestion was dismissed by the State, with Prosecutor Charles Mnisi saying the postponement was for further investigations to take place.

The trial continues.

Read more on:    saps  |  mido macia  |  johannesburg  |  crime

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