Mido Macia resisted getting in police van, witness tells court

People hold signs showing a picture of Midio Macia , 6 March 2013, at the memorial service for Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia at the Sinaba Stadium in Daveyto. Mido Macia was found dead in holding cells at the Daveyton Police Station in Benoni. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

A witness in the murder case of Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia has told the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday that he had resisted to get into the police van on the day he was attacked.

Testifying during the trial of nine police officers accused of murdering Macia in February 2013, Lindiwe Tracy Ngwenya said two police officers approached Macia and told him that he had illegally parked his vehicle. Ngwenya narrated how the incident degenerated into Macia’s death.

“One policeman was in uniform and one was wearing civilian clothing. They were speaking in loud voices and I could hear them. The police officer in uniform demanded his [Macia’s] license and he gave it to them,” Ngwenya testified through an interpreter.

“The officer said you have parked illegally and you [are] not [a] South African citizen. Mido didn’t answer. I then moved away and went to make a call at a public phone.” She said the police officers wanted to put Macia into their van but the taxi driver resisted.

One of the officers, Meshack Malele drove away in Macia’s Toyota Avanza and returned with police reinforcements, said Ngwenya. She said there was a tussle as the officers kept trying to load Macia into the police van.

“They fastened his hands behind him and then tied him onto the van. Community members (in Daveyton) were gathering and asking what he had done. As the van drove away, bystanders started throwing stones at the van. A police officer fired two shots,” said Ngwenya.

Judge Bert Bam asked Ngwenya to explain whether Macia was running behind the van or if he had lost his footing. Ngwenya stood up in court and demonstrated how Macia was fastened to the police car. She said he was lying on his back as the vehicle drove off.

“Two police officers lifted his legs but they left him as the van gained speed,” said Ngwenya. Prosecutor Charles Mnisi asked Ngwenya to explain how she would react if it were to be suggested that Macia tried to seize a gun from one of the officers. She responded: “That never happened”.

Ngwenya said Macia was dragged for about 40 meters behind the police van and that was the last moment she saw the Mozambican. She said they had grown up together, stayed at same house and were related.

Macia was later found dead in the Ekurhuleni police station’s holding cells. The incident made international headlines and sparked several protests against police brutality. The nine officers – Malele, Thamsanqa Ngema, Percy Mnisi, Bongamusa Mdluli, Sipho Ngobeni, Lungisa Gwababa, Bongani Kolisi, Linda Sololo and Matome Ramatlou are all on bail.

They stared attentively as Ngwenya testified.

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