PRESS STATEMENT: LHR condemns alleged police brutality following taxi driver's death in Daveyton


Lawyers for Human Rights has noted the death of Mozambican national Mido Macia - allegedly due to police brutality after being dragged behind a police vehicle and assaulted while in detention - with deep concern and calls for an urgent investigation by SAPS and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate into the matter.

The taxi driver was later found dead in the holding cells of the Daveyton police station in Ekurhuleni, on Tuesday night.

Yesterday, national police commissioner Riah Phiyega said the 27-year-old's death had been reported to IPID for criminal investigation, adding the police would fully co-operate with its investigation to ensure justice was served. We understand that no charges have yet been brought against perpetrators, nor have they been suspended and are still on active duty. LHR calls on the commissioner to immediately suspend the perpetrators and institute criminal charges against them.

While we commend the investigation, instances of police brutality, particularly against foreign nationals, is something that LHR is all too familiar with, witnessing instances on a weekly basis. 

Over the last few weeks LHR has seen a rise in attacks against homeless people and foreign nationals in Hillbrow, Johannesburg who are unlawfully arrested and brutally assaulted. They are then released without pursuing any charges, making it clear that this is meant to be a form of intimidation.

It is of grave concern that these raids coincide with these reports of people being beaten with sjamboks and batons during arrests and detention.

South Africa is far from the ideal of a professional policy service due to mismanagement and heavy-handedness against members of the public.

IPID are a crucial oversight institution but lack sufficient resources. This places added onus on arms of government like Parliament and provincial legislatures to take up their own oversight mandates. A broader inquiry is essential in digging into the increasingly aggressive stance of the SAPS.

Every year approximately 800 people die in police-related deaths and the government pays R14-billion annually to compensate families of assaults, unlawful arrests and destruction of goods.

Macia’s death is the latest in a long line of scandal to rock the South African Police Service. Other notable instances include the murder of Andries Tatane and the death of 44 miners at Marikana.

LHR calls on senior politicians and police officials to refrain from making populist statements that echo former police commissioner Bheki Cele’s controversial “shoot to kill” comments as these tend only to incite further violence.

We also suggest better training and strategies to be put in place when dealing with protests and for improved assistance for victims of police brutality.