A hard-hitting television presenter recently asked the Minister of Police, Nathi Mthethwa, if he would resign given the deterioration of policing in recent years. This took place during a popular television programme called ‘The Big Debate’ screened on one of South Africa’s most watched television channels, SABC 2, on 14 April 2013.
The recent death of Mozambican taxi driver, Mido Macia, at the hands of police officials has once again turned the world’s attention to police brutality in South Africa. This incident only became a major media sensation because of video footage of Macia being dragged behind a police vehicle to the police station, where he was allegedly beaten to death. Statements condemning the incident have been forthcoming from South Africa’s political and police leaders, but they appear to be in denial about the scale of the problem, putting it down to a ‘handful of officers’.
Mourners in Mozambique have buried a taxi driver, Mido Macia, who died in custody in South Africa after officers cuffed him to their van and dragged him through the streets.
Before the funeral on 9 March 2013, Human Rights League, a non-governmental organisation, marched to the South African High Commission in central Maputo.
The chanted: ‘Down with xenophobia’. ‘Stop Humiliating Mozambicans’ and ‘Mido Macia Forever’.
The South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) says the Marikana shooting may force the African National Congress to abandon failing policies.
SAIRR chief executive, John Kane-Berman, points out that the government will find it harder to defend a shoot to kill policing policy.
Kane-Berman is of the view that, "Perhaps now that the whole world has seen the consequences at Marikana, ministers such as Susan Shabangu, formerly of the police ministry but now at mining, are going to be less inclined to urge policemen to shoot to kill."
Over the past few weeks, the South African media has been dominated by accounts of violence. Miles of newspaper columns, clouds of web space and hours of radio talk time have been dominated by the killings of miners and police at Marikana. If you are in the Western Cape, the Marikana massacre has jostled for space with reports of gang and vigilante violence on the Cape Flats that has taken the lives of an almost equal number of people over the past two months.
On 30 November 2011 Isaac* woke up in his rented room in Kwanokuthula and prepared for his day. He washed, dressed and collected together his crafting tools and materials for making wire ornaments. He put them in his bag and caught the minibus taxi to the crafters’ stall in the tourist town of Plettenberg Bay on the south eastern coast of South Africa. His business had picked up slightly since the winter lull and he had brought along additional stock in anticipation of the holiday crowds. When he climbed out of the taxi a South African Police Service (SAPS) officer asked for his papers.