'The least we expect is transparency, accountability': Zikalala lashes out at Hawaii cops

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Premier Sihle Zikalala speaking at a Covid-19 press briefing.
Premier Sihle Zikalala speaking at a Covid-19 press briefing.
KZN government
  • KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala has criticised the Hawaii police for not co-operating with the government.
  • He said critical reports and information were being withheld.
  • Zikalala added it appeared the police in the US lacked respect for black lives.

The KwaZulu-Natal government has hit out at the Honolulu Police Department, saying critical reports and information related to the shooting of Lindani Myeni were being withheld.

On Thursday, Premier Sihle Zikalala called on US President Joe Biden to intervene in the case.

"We are also calling for intervention from the highest office in the US. We know that US President Joe Biden has an illustrious history as a crusader for human rights and justice. We are confident that if he could intervene in this case and start asking questions, we would start to see some progress," he said.

Zikalala was critical of the Hawaii police, saying they did not respect black lives.

"Judging by their attitude, we can only conclude that they lack respect for black lives. We call on the people of this province, the country, Africa and the world not to keep quiet about this injustice."

He said the government had made attempts to garner more information regarding Myeni's controversial death.

"This follows a number of attempts to get assistance from the police regarding reports and critical information, which to date has yielded no results. To add salt into the wound, the consul-general, Ms Babalwa Sunduza, and the Myeni family have advised us that the police have not even co-operated with the request to return the deceased's missing items, including his phone, ring and headphones," he said.

Myeni was fatally shot during an altercation with three white US police officers in Nuuanu, Hawaii.

ALSO READ | Lindani Myeni's mortal remains will arrive in SA on Friday

Zikalala said there was a clear bias against black people.

"Being Black is not a scourge. It is not a crime. But when you consider the conduct of the police in Honolulu, you begin to realise that they're not taking this incident seriously. They are behaving as if nothing happened.

"It's as if this life didn't matter at all. A person was killed here, not a fly. This was someone's son, husband, father and friend who died under very questionable circumstances. The least we expect from them is some transparency and accountability."

He described the incident as an injustice.

"As a country with a painful history of race-based violence, an incident such as this one touches a raw nerve in us because our wounds are still very fresh. This injustice cannot, and should not, be left unchallenged.

"Therefore, as the province of KwaZulu-Natal, we are calling on South Africans to rise up and make a strong statement against this abomination."

NS
Lindani Myeni was shot dead by police in Hawaii.

Myeni remains

Zikalala said the provincial cabinet had resolved to support the repatriation and funeral arrangements for Myeni. 

"The executive council also resolved to deploy members of the executive council to support the family and facilitate Myeni's mortal remains arrival from Johannesburg after which they will be transported to his home at Esikhaleni."

He added Myeni's remains were expected to arrive at the OR Tambo International Airport on Friday at 10:40 and would be released to the family on Saturday.

"A short prayer service will then be held by the receiving committee and the family. The body will then be transported to KwaZulu-Natal. More details on Lindani Myeni's funeral and memorial services will be released in due course."

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