The sentencing of eight former Daveyton policemen for the murder of Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia was a black day for South Africa and especially for the police service, the Macia family’s lawyer has said.
Attorney Jose Nascimento, who is handling the Macia family’s R6.5 million damages claim against the police, said the 15-year sentences for the policemen were fair. But the case was unfair to those policemen who did their jobs properly and who put their lives at risk on a daily basis. “It is a sad day.
A debatable minor traffic offence led to the brutal murder of a young man, murdered by policemen who should be there to protect, not murder, the public. “From an emotional point of view, I presume the family wanted a life sentence, but I think we have to divorce ourselves from the emotions. This case shows that the constitution and the rule of law is functioning,” he said.
The eight police officers’ legal representative, Benny Ndaba, said they would appeal against the conviction handed down by Judge Bert Bam in August. He said: “We are not appealing the 15-year sentence handed by the court today, we are going to appeal against the conviction.
“We are of the opinion that the judge’s analysis of the evidence brought before court was incorrect and we believe another court might come to a different opinion.” Nascimento said the sentence would not affect the family’s claim for compensation.
“At the moment, the state has agreed in principle that they will compensate the deceased’s family. We are at the phase where we are discussing figures and amounts and, hopefully, the matter will be finalised before year-end.” The lawyer described the conditions in which the Macia family lived in Mozambique after losing their breadwinner as “absolute squalor” and “almost subhuman”.
Robbie Raburabu, acting spokesperson for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, said they were satisfied with the sentences, which would serve as a deterrent to other rogue police officers.
“Their job is to protect and serve the community, instead of abusing them,” he said. Raburabu said he did not think the problem was the police, but rather South African society. “We are a very violent society and I think we need to tone down … Our police officers are very well trained, so it’s just a change of attitude that is needed – to actually respect our citizens more.” Additional reporting by ANA.