Warrant Officer Mphumzi Ngamlana, who was a cell commander at the police station on 26 February 2013, testified in the trial of nine of his colleagues who are on trial for allegedly murdering taxi driver Mido Macia.
Macia died in a police cell hours after he was dragged through Daveyton’s streets while allegedly cuffed to the back of a police van. A video of the incident went viral, causing an international outcry.
The accused are Meshack Malele, Thamsanqa Mgema, Percy Jonathan Mnisi, Bongamusa Mdluli, Sipho Sydwell Ngobeni, Lungisa Gwababa, Bongani Kolisi, Linda Sololo, and Matome Walter Ramatlou.
Ngamlana testified that Macia, who was not wearing any trousers or shoes, had to be carried into the police station because he could not walk on his own.
He was crying and complaining that the police had taken his driver’s license.
The police were arguing with Macia and he fell down. Ngamlana heard them beating Macia with open hands. One of the policemen also picked up a plastic chair and threatened to hit Macia.
Macia was pushed onto a bench and Ngamlana could hear him being hit with an open hand.
Macia was complaining about his head and Ngamlana could see he was bleeding.
The policemen told him there was a fight at the scene, they were hit with bricks and that’s how Macia was injured.
The two pairs of handcuffs around Macia’s wrists were so tight and twisted that it had to be cut off with pliers. At that stage Macia could still talk and gave his name to Ngamlana.
Ngamlana had asked his relief commander to phone the paramedics, but they only arrived hours later.
Ngamlana carried on with his duties, only noticing later that Macia was lying “in a bad way” on the floor of his cell.
Asked by Judge Bert Bam if he had tried to help Macia, Ngamlana said: “No … I did not know ways I could use to assist him”.
The paramedics only arrived at 9pm, but then informed Ngamlana that Macia was no longer alive.
The trial continues.