Don't make Krugersdorp cop case racial - Ipid

2015-11-14 12:12

(Nielen de Klerk, News24)

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Pretoria- The Independent Police Investigative Directorate [Ipid] on Saturday called on unions to not turn the case involving the Krugersdorp police officers accused of murdering a suspected criminal into a racial matter.

Ipid spokesperson Grace Langa said they were surprised by the reaction from the unions after the three of the four officers were denied bail in the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court on Friday.

"We don't understand why unions make the Krugersdorp matter a racial issue... The magistrate is simply doing his job and he saw the judgement for bail relevant for that case [in the] same way they, the Krugersdorp police, saw it fit to finish off Mpanza," she said in a statement. 

Four police officers were arrested after the Sunday Times newspaper two weeks ago reported that CCTV footage showed the police officers killing Khulekani Mpanza in cold blood, after he fired several shots at the police officers.

In the footage, police are seen chasing and then shooting at Mpanza who falls to the ground, dropping his weapon.

Another police officer however, is seen moving closer to him and apparently firing another shot at a disarmed and wounded Mpanza, killing him.

One of the officers who was charged with defeating the ends of justice was granted bail earlier this month while the other three, who face an additional charge of murder, were denied bail on Friday.

Delivering his ruling on the bail application, Magistrate Keith Page said the officers could have made a successful arrest after Mpanza fell to the ground as there was no sign of resistance.

"The CCTV shows accused number one approaching the deceased, who was on the floor elbows bent with his hands covering his face, showing no resistance to police.

"It has been established that an excessive degree of violence was exerted on the deceased," Page said.

But a disgruntled Popcru president, Sizakele Cebekhulu, told union members outside of court that Page's decision was "racist".

"We are faced with a racist decision here," he said.

"All the processes of bail have been exhausted, still the magistrate finds it possible for him to keep them inside. We are not going to agree to this," Cebekhulu said.

Langa said it was surprising that the unions who had labelled the judge as being racist had ignored the fact that the prosecutor in the case was also white.

"Surprisingly, the prosecutor who did not oppose bail is white and nothing is sad about it cause it is in their favour," she said, adding that those who were dissatisfied with the magistrate's decision should appeal the decision instead of "playing the race card."

The SA Policing Union has vowed to take Page's decision to the High Court.

"We have made a promise to those members that we are going to the High Court, where another court will give a better judgment than this one," Sapu deputy chairperson in Gauteng Peter Ntsime said on Friday.

Meanwhile, Langa also called for the unions to not victimise the person who provided the footage.

"The poor man who helped to bring the video forward is now blamed for racism all because he exposed the officers," she said.

The four officers return to court on December 2.

Read more on:    police  |  police brutality  |  crime

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