Macia told he was 'not from SA' prior to dragging, court hears

2015-07-28 13:48
The nine policemen linked to the death of Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia. (Adam Wakefield, News24)

The nine policemen linked to the death of Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia. (Adam Wakefield, News24)

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Pretoria - A police officer confronted Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia about his nationality, the High Court in Pretoria heard on Tuesday as nine police officers went on trial for his murder.

Lindiwe Ngwenya, who had grown up with Macia, was a passenger in his car at the time he was stopped by police on February 26, 2013 in Daveyton, Benoni.

She was testifying at the trial of the nine Daveyton officers.

"The police officer in uniform said to Mido 'You are parked wrong and you are not a person from South Africa'," Ngwenya said.

"Mido did not answer. I moved away from them...I went to a public phone and thereafter I came back. When I came back the Avanza [Macia's car] was no longer there."

Ngwenya then saw the Avanza being driven by a police officer who was not in uniform, while other police officers had arrived on the scene. They attempted to force Macia into the back of a police van.

"Members of the community were shouting, making a lot of noise. In the end they tried, they grabbed him [Macia] and they put him in the back, but they did not succeed and he again came out from the back. They grabbed him and they fastened his hands at the back of the van," Ngwenya testified.

"Members of the community were busy asking what it is that he did. They then proceeded by driving the van; they drove away. As they were driving away, members of the community started throwing stones at the van. One police officer fired two shots in the air and people dispersed."

Dragged

Thamsanqa Ncema, Linda Sololo, Meshack Malele, Motome Walter Ramatlou, Percy Mnisi, Bongumusa 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 through the streets of Daveyton went viral and caused public outrage.

Police say they had a confrontation with Macia when he refused to move his taxi, which was obstructing traffic.

Macia was found dead in the police holding cells several hours later. He was wearing his underwear and socks. His trousers were later found in another part of the police station.

A post-mortem found that he died from a lack of oxygen. The police have denied playing any part in Macia's death, and have claimed he was alive when he was put in the cell.

Ngwenya told the court she had been picked up at a clinic by Macia and they were making their way back when Macia was stopped by two people in Eiselen Street in Daveyton.

"He then made a u-turn and he drove to fetch these people," she told the court in isiZulu through an interpreter.

"Whilst he had stopped in that way a police officer in uniform appeared. The police officer said to him, 'Do you realise you have stopped incorrectly at this place?' He agreed by saying yes, then Mido asked the police officer, 'You stopped me whilst there are other... vehicles driving in front of me."

Raised voices

By now Macia and Ngwenya had got out of the vehicle. Ngwenya told the court Macia and the police officer were speaking in loud voices.

"The police officer in uniform demanded a licence from Mido and he took out his licence, which he gave to him. The police officer in uniform then said to Mido, 'Are you a South African or do you come from outside the country?" testified Ngwenya, to murmurs from the gallery, including members of Macia's family.

Asked by prosecutor Charles Mnisi whether it was correct Macia had not reached for the policeman's firearm, the one who first stopped him, she replied "Yes, I would say so. That did not happen."

Earlier, the nine policemen, in submissions read to the court by Mnisi at the beginning of proceedings, admitted Ewababa was driving the police van when Macia was tied to it.

They further admitted Malele and another officer were the first police officers to arrive on the scene and spoke to Macia, that eight of them took part in Macia's arrest when attempting to put him in the back of police van, and that Macia was detained at Daveyton police station where he later died.

They all pleaded not guilty to any involvement in Macia's death.

The trial continues.

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

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