Ramphele shocked at taxi driver death

2013-03-01 19:02
Mamphela Ramphele (Picture: AFP)

Mamphela Ramphele (Picture: AFP)

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Johannesburg - Agang leader Mamphela Ramphele expressed shock on Friday at the death of a minibus taxi driver who was allegedly assaulted by police.

"Coming after Marikana, I am deeply shocked by this behaviour. The fact that police did this quite openly... is an example of the culture of impunity which has taken root in our public service," the party political platform leader said in a statement.

"Some members of the police - who are no longer a service but a force, as they were under apartheid - are behaving with unbelievable callousness."

Mido Macia, 27, a taxi driver and Mozambican national, was tied to the back of a police van and dragged along a street in Daveyton on the East Rand on Tuesday.

An eyewitness filmed the assault. Macia died in the local police station's cells later that day.

Ramphele said people should wait for a full investigation into the incident before passing judgement. However, footage showed that the officers behaved inappropriately.

"By whatever standards we judge it, this is a clear act of police brutality."

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega said on Friday morning that the officers involved in the incident had been suspended.

"I have also instructed that the officers involved be disarmed," she said during a media briefing in Pretoria.

"We are also removing the current station commander of Daveyton police station from his position so that investigations can proceed uninhibited."

Earlier on Friday, the ANC condemned Macia's death.

"The ANC believes that the role of the police is [to] protect and preserve life," ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said in a statement.

"We call on the public that witnessed the incident to come forward and assist with information that will provide facts and [an] account of the incident."

Government also expressed its condolences on Friday.

"No acts of abuse and crime will be tolerated in our country. We are confident that IPID [Independent Police Investigative Directorate] will conduct an independent and impartial investigation, and that the wheels of justice will turn in all abuse and criminal cases," spokesperson Phumla Williams said in a statement.

The SA National Taxi Council (Santaco) called on all taxi drivers to observe a minute of silence on Wednesday at 07:00 by switching off their vehicles in respect for Macia.

"We call upon all our taxi drivers and community members to remain calm and restrained under these circumstances, and allow the law to take its course," Santaco general secretary Philip Taaibosch said.

"We, however, wish to guarantee our taxi drivers that their rights as human beings will be protected and defended at all costs."

On Thursday, President Jacob Zuma called the video of the incident horrific.

The Cosatu, the Congress of the People, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, the DA, Amnesty International, and the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution have also condemned the incident.

- SAPA
Read more on:    santaco  |  police  |  anc  |  ipid  |  agang  |  phumla williams  |  riah phiyega  |  jacob zuma  |  jackson mthembu  |  mamphela ramphele  |  johannesburg  |  police brutality
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