S. Africa jails eight policemen for murder of Mozambican man

South African Judge Bert Bam jails eight policemen for 15 years each for dragging Mozambican Taxi driver Mido Macia to death in 2013

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Former police officers wait to hear their sentencing in a court in Pretoria, South Africa, November 11, 2015

Updated Nov 12, 2015

A South African court sentenced on Wednesday eight former police officers to 15 years in jail each for killing a Mozambican taxi driver, Mido Macia, they dragged behind a police van.

The death of Mido Macia shocked the country, putting focus on South Africa's police force, which has frequently been accused of excessive use of force.

Around 1,000 people die in custody or as result of police action every year in South Africa.

Mido Macia was 27 year old when he died from head injuries and internal bleeding.

He had been arrested in 2013 for parking his car on the wrong side of the road in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg.

The incident, caught on video and broadcast around the world, further tarnished the reputation of the police in South Africa.

Video footage indicated that Macia was mauled, cuffed to the back of police van and dragged many meters through Johannesburg's streets. A minibus taxi driver named Macias who was debating with police officers over his car being parked illegally filmed the incident.

A little more than two hours after the incident, he was found dead in his cell in a pool of blood.

After a video of the incident showed up on social media, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma described the incident as "horrific, disturbing and unacceptable."

High Court Judge Bert Bam, who presided over the case, said, "The continuous conduct of the accused concerning the injuries on the deceased was barbaric and totally inexplicable. What made their conduct more reprehensible was their cowardly attack in the cell on a defenseless and already seriously injured man."

Benny Ndaba, a lawyer for the police officers, said they would appeal their murder convictions.

There has been a series of incidents of South African police using excessıve force against civilians in recent years.

In 2012, on the 25-year anniversary of a nationwide South African miners' strike, a strike at a mine owned by Lonmin in the Marikana area turned violent when South African security forces fired at the miners, killing dozens of them.

Protesters holding picttures of the cab driver Mido Macia, who was killed by the police

Xenophobia in South Africa

A wave of deadly attacks against immigrants has rocked South Africa in recent years. Generally, the incidents involve locals attacking foreigners, particularly Malawians, Zimbabweans, Ethiopians and Mozambicans, in several townships in and cities.

Attackers accuse foreign migrants of taking their jobs, blaming them for large amounts of unemployment and crime in the township areas.

Last month more than 1,650 foreigners were among thousands arrested in the wake of a wave of xenophobic violence in the country, which left eight people dead and hundreds injured.

Between 2000 and March 2008, no less than 67 individuals were killed in what were considered to be assaults motivated by xenophobia. In May 2008, mob violence left 62 individuals dead; despite the fact that 21 of those killed were South African citizens.

TRTWorld and agencies