MEC calls for calm in Ficksburg

2011-04-14 14:22

A call for calm in Ficksburg was made today by Free State MEC for police, roads and transport, Thabo Manyoni.

“He urged the community to be calm and to give the process of investigations a chance,” a departmental spokesperson Zolile Walaza said in a statement.

This, after a protest in Ficksburg yesterday during which Andries Tatane (33) was allegedly beaten to death by the police.

Police allegedly fired rubber bullets into Tatane’s chest and then beat him with batons during a protest march which got out of hand.

A group of 45 people were arrested on charges of public violence and were appearing in court today. Court proceedings were still under way early in the afternoon.

Manyoni appealed to everybody who had been “deeply touched” by the incident to refrain from utterances which could inflame the volatile situation in the town.

He echoed Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa’s sentiment that it was “inappropriate” to draw conclusions at this stage on what led to the death of Tatane in the scuffle with the police.

“Like most South Africans, the MEC was deeply saddened by the TV visuals splashed on various SABC newscasts,” Walaza said in the statement.

Manyoni joined Mthethwa and Free State premier Ace Magashule in assuring the Ficksburg community that the incident would be thoroughly investigated by the Independent Complaints Directorate and police internal structures.

The MEC also extended his condolences to the Tatane family.

Today, the unrest in Ficksburg continued, with residents blocking roads, burning tyres and setting building alight.

Free State police spokesperson Colonel Sam Makhele said reinforcements had been sent to the town and police were maintaining a high presence in the town and at the local court.

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