Mido Macia ‘dragged by accident’

FILE PICTURE: People protest court, during bail application of Policemen accused of the death of Daveyton Taxi driver Mido Macia after he was dragged behind a police van. Picture: Ayi Leshabane

The nine Daveyton police officers accused of murdering Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia claim he was dragged behind a police van by accident.

This emerged during cross-examination of the first state witness, Lindiwe Ngwenya, who testified that she had seen the police arguing with Macia, then trying to put him in the back of the police van before driving off, dragging him behind the van.

Meshack Malele, 46, Thamsanqa Ngema, 35, Percy Jonathan Mnisi, 26, Bongamusa Mdluli, 25, Sipho Sydwell Ngobeni, 30, Lungisa Gwababa, 31, Bongani Kolisi, 27, Linda Sololo, 56 and Matome Walter Ramatlou, 37, pleaded not guilty to a charge of murder.

The State alleges the policemen had in February 2013 murdered the 25-year-old Macia.

Macia had sustained numerous injuries in the incident and died of a lack of oxygen in a holding cell at the Daveyton police station hours later.

Defence Counsel Marius van Wyngaard put it to Ngwenya that Macia had been aggressive after he was asked to move his taxi because he was blocking traffic.

He said Macia had assaulted Malele, took his firearm and pointed it in the policeman’s direction, whereafter Ngema fired a shot into the air, causing him to drop the firearm.

While Malele used Macia’s taxi to get back to the police station to get help, Macia demanded his licence back and grabbed Ngema. Four of the other accused arrived and Gwababa asked Macia to get into the back of the van while hundreds of community members were gathering around them.

Van Wyngaard put it to the witness that Macia had resisted arrest and did everything possible not to get into the van. Ngobeni managed to get one handcuff around one of Macia’s wrists and Gwababa then managed to cuff both of his wrists with a second pair of handcuffs.

The version of the accused was that Macia was not cuffed to the inside of the van, as alleged by the state, but that the one dangling handcuff became stuck when he jumped out of the van without the driver noticing.

Gwababa’s version was that he had thought Macia was inside the van when he pulled away and did not realise he was being dragged behind the van until one of his colleagues managed to alert him, whereafter he immediately stopped and Macia was loaded inside the van.

Ngwenya insisted another police vehicle was following the van while Macia was being dragged and that they should have used their siren or a loud hailer to stop the van.

The trial continues.

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