Public urged to allow FS investigations to continue

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pretoria - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa is calling on the public to allow an investigation into the death of a Free State protester to run its cause.

"It is unfortunate that a life has been lost but we would like to urge all in society, to allow the investigative process to run its cause," Mthethwa said on Thursday.

This comes after footage on SABC news broadcasts showed a scuffle between police and the man in protest action in Setsoto, Ficksburg, in the Free State yesterday. In the footage, the man is beaten by a group of police officers and later collapses to his death. 

"We noted the unfortunate incident where there was a scuffle between a striker and the police. At this point it would be inappropriate to draw conclusions on what triggered the alleged incident and the resultant death, but we have every confidence that the Independent Complaints Directorate (ICD) will investigate the incident without delay," said the minister.

ICD spokesperson Moses Dlamini said an investigation into the matter has begun.

"Investigations are continuing today," he said following a visit by the ICD to the man's family on Wednesday.

"A post mortem will be done in the Free State tomorrow to reveal the cause of death. We can't reveal details of the investigation until we have made progress," said Dlamini, adding that it was not clear when the investigation will be concluded.

Minister Mthethwa expressed his full confidence in the ICD to carry out the investigation "without fear or favour."

"At this point it would be inappropriate to draw conclusions on what triggered the alleged incident and the resultant death, but we have every confidence that the ICD will investigate the incident without delay," said Mthethwa.

The ministry reiterated its stance that the majority of strikers are tolerant and law-abiding citizens but it is only a few minorities with criminal mindsets who commit such acts; thus negatively tarnishing the image of other strikers.

Free State police Captain Phumelelo Dlamini, who confirmed 36-year old Andries Tatane's death, said other than the ICD investigation; police are conducting an internal investigation. "An internal investigation was set up immediately after a docket was set up," said Dlamini of the murder docket.

The 62 protesters that were arrested for public violence yesterday will appear in the Fickburg Magistrate's Court later today. 

"The situation in that area is calm now," said Captain Dlamini. - BuaNews

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