Farmer’s shooting justified, says ICD

2011-01-25 00:00

THE Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) has confirmed that it is not probing the shootout that resulted in the death of Babanango farmer Kobus de Vries at his home on Friday.

De Vries was shot, allegedly by police, after a four-and-a-half-hour exchange of gunfire after officers arrived at his house to question him about a series of accidents that he had while driving home that day.

“We visited the house and have determined that what happened is what we call a ‘justified shooting’,” said ICD communication officer Tiyani Sambo. “The lives of the police officers involved were in danger.”

There is still a fair amount of confusion surrounding Thursday’s events, though, with family members of De Vries alleging that he was shot in the back after he had been told to come out of his house to surrender.

The family is reportedly conducting its own investigation with private investigators, though no progress on this front can be confirmed as yet.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Phindile Radebe, who told The Witness on Sunday that De Vries had died due to a gunshot wound to the neck, said that no progress has been made in their investigation as yet.

“There have been no developments and it is still unclear whether the bullet that killed him was a police officer’s or his own,” said Radebe.

While no official investigation is to be made at this stage by the ICD, Sambo confirmed that they will “keep an eye” on proceedings.

“We will wait for the post-mortem results, which will determine the cause of death — whether the deceased committed suicide or if he was killed during a shoot-out with the police,” he said.

“Following the conclusion of our preliminary investigation, we were able to establish that there was an exchange of fire between the police and the deceased.”

A spokesperson for the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) security desk, Koos Marais, expressed concern over the killing.

“Kwanalu is very concerned about the incident and we believe that the police will do their best to uncover the facts,” he said.

“We are also aware that the ICD takes an interest in these matters and are confident that they will play their part in uncovering the truth.”

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