Dragging victim remembered

A memorial service is being held for Mido Macia who died allegedly at the hands of policemen.

Graça Michel speaks to some of Mido Macia's friends and family members during his memorial service on 6 March 2013. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

DAVEYTON - Hundreds of mourners, including former president Nelson Mandela's wife Gra├ža Machel, on Wednesday arrived at a memorial service for Mozambican taxi driver Mido Macia at the Sinaba Stadium in Benoni.

Several taxi associations will be directing the proceedings.

The 27-year-old died in police custody last week and eight policemen have been arrested for his murder.

Machel arrived to resounding cheers and applause at the stadium.

She spoke to friends and family about the taxi driver's death.

The Benoni Taxi Association said the service was organised by several taxi groups and local government.

The number of mourners has now grown to over 300.

Mozambican high commission representatives have also arrived and the service is officially underway.

The crowd sang struggle songs about police brutality during the apartheid era and said they were doing that because they felt like they were once again under attack from law enforcement.

Others said they were disgusted that National Police Day celebrations are also happening at the Johannesburg Stadium on the day a memorial is being held for a man allegedly killed at the hands of eight officers.

Macia was dragged down a street while handcuffed to the back of a police van last Tuesday, and later died in holding cells at the Daveyton Police Station.

A cellphone video of the incident went viral, sparking worldwide outrage and protests against the police by residents from the East Rand community.

The taxi driver's home has also been flooded with visits from dignitaries and Mozambicans living in South Africa since news of his death broke.

Wednesday's service will be attended by members of the Mozambican High Commission, but it is unlear if any representatives from government will address mourners.

Residents of Daveyton say they're disgusted by the police's actions and are looking forward to their next court appearance.

The two warrant officers and six constables are due to return to the Benoni Magistrate's Court on Friday, after their case was postponed on Monday.

Magistrate Sam Makamu granted a request by the prosecution that the police officers not be identified yet.

Prosecutor December Mthimunye asked that an identity parade be held first to prevent the prejudice of the case.